DISCLAIMER: The events depicted in this story do not represent actual events taking place on September 11th, 2011.
All characters of Phineas and Ferb are the property of Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and Disney Channel.
"I can't believe it's been this long already."
"I can't either, honey."
The two voices belonged to the Flynn-Fletcher parents, Linda and Lawrence. They currently resided on the couch, with twin coffee mugs resting on the table in front of them.
"Have you heard from your sister yet?"
"Yes, she called yesterday. Her and Bob are in New York now. They're going to be at the commencement ceremony."
"Invited, I presume?"
"...My sister's not a gate crasher, honey."
"Just making sure, sweetheart."
They both stared at the television, watching the morning news outlets do their separate pieces of the day and showing the crowds of people already gathering at the memorials throughout the nation. It was not the normal routine for the adults on a Sunday.
But then again, this wasn't a normal Sunday.
"I don't suppose you know where the kids are right now, do you?"
"They're all still sleeping, I think. First couple weeks of school probably zonked all of them out. Us running around all day yesterday didn't help either."
"Ah yes, the perils of seemingly limitless youth."
"Ahh, good morning, boys," Lawrence said, noticing the two young kids entering the room. Phineas and Ferb were both dressed in their normal attire, but there was still a large amount of drowsiness in their eyes. They were both carrying their cereal, which they set on the table.
"Remind me why we're not allowed to drink coffee again, Dad."
"Because, Phineas, you would start bouncing off the walls, and I daresay I like the walls where they are currently."
Linda laughed at her son, her mug in her hand. "Trust me, sweetie, you need to be a little older in order to appreciate a good cup of coffee."
Phineas sat down between his parents, Ferb taking his spot to his right. He ate a couple of spoonfuls, now noticing the TV and what was on it.
"What's going on today?"
Linda turned the volume down, not wanting to duress the boys with the news. "Nothing, honey. You shouldn't be watching the news anyway. It rots your brain."
"Mom, I know something's going on. They don't usually have the news on this channel, right?"
She was surprised at her son's perception. "Well, no. They don't."
"So?" Phineas persisted.
She paused, not knowing if this was a good thing to be telling her son. However, she knew she wasn't going to be able to keep it a secret from him. "It's a special anniversary today, Phineas. Some people...did a bad thing a while ago, and we're going to pay tribute to the people who...were hurt by it."
"Oh." The redhead glanced back and forth between the TV and his mom, the cogs in his brain slowly turning. "Wait, didn't they do something like this last year?"
"Yes they did," Lawrence interjected, "But this is a special year. It happened ten years ago today."
"Ten years ago," Phineas trailed off. "Man, that was a long time ago." He stared at the news anchor, who was currently rifling through pictures of people whose faces he didn't recognize. "What exactly happened?"
His mother quickly tried to steer him away from that particular point. "Phineas, I think you're a little young to have this explained to you..."
"Mom, Ferb and I are ten years old! Of course we're old enough."
"Phineas, I don't think-"
She looked up to see Lawrence's face, his hand held out to stop her. He glimpsed down at his stepson, as if sizing him up.
"Let's just say, Phineas, that a lot of people's lives were changed that day. A lot of people were hurt, physically and emotionally. You were too young, of course, to remember any of it. You were only a few months old when it happened."
"I remember...some things." Phineas closed his eyes, trying to think back to that day. "I remember a lot of crying. I remember...a lot of sadness."
"I'm surprised you remember anything at all, squirt."
The family looked up to see Candace entering the room, arms crossed across her body.
"I remember it," she said. "Mom kept us here for the entire day. You were suppose to take Phineas to the doctor that day, right Mom?"
"Yes, that's right," Linda affirmed. "Suffice to say, we didn't do that."
Candace walked over, sitting down on the arm of the couch. "You pulled me out of kindergarten too; I remember that much. I recall Mrs. Price not being happy about it at all, but I don't think she had much of a choice. Everyone's mom was coming to get them."
Ferb turned to his father, more curious than ever. "We weren't here, were we?"
"Oh no, Ferb, we were still in London at the time," Lawrence answered, his brow wrinkled in concentration. "You were barely older than Phineas when it happened. I remember turning on the tele and just watching the news all day. Horrible, horrible thing. Everyone was too scared to go out for days afterward. We thought something was going to happen over on our side of the pond."
Phineas narrowed his eyes, clearly thinking hard about all that had been said. After a while, he looked up at his dad. "Did they ever find out why they did it?"
Linda exchanged a quick glance with her husband, who shared her worried look. They had never meant to even take the conversation this far, and to even continue it further was asking for trouble. She decided to chance it anyway.
"What was the reason?"
"Phineas..." Candace started.
"No!" her younger brother shouted, interrupting her. "I want to know why they could hurt so many people! What possible reason could they have to do such a thing?"
It was not Candace's pleading voice or even Linda's troublesome tone that stopped him. It was Lawrence's. He looked down at his stepson's face, his eyes peering over his glasses in a serious manner.
"You said you want to know why, Phineas?"
"Yeah!" Phineas pleaded.
"Well then, let me answer your question with one of my own," Lawrence offered.
Phineas, confused as ever, leaned back on the couch. "O...K."
"...Does it matter?"
The redhead's face was riddled with even more bewilderment. "Wh-What?"
"Does it matter why they did it, Phineas? The men who were behind this horrible act said why they did it, and to this day most people still don't understand it. What is important to remember is not necessarily the act itself, but the people that were hurt that day by it."
"But..." Phineas looked at his brother, searching for an explanation, but Ferb's ever-silent demeanor was still present.
"My dear boys," Lawrence said, wrapping an arm around his kids, "Sometimes things happen in life that we aren't meant to fathom. People do things, and naturally, we want to know why; that's certainly understandable. But every once in a while, things just...happen. Sometimes we get an explanation, and sometimes we don't. Even if we do, it occasionally doesn't make any sense. It remains a mystery for a time, and quite possibly forever.
"What happened ten years ago is no different. We're told one thing, and we think another. But no matter what happens, or what we think about what happens, you have to understand that no one man can rationalize everything that takes place in the world today. We know what those people did was a terrible thing. Knowing why does not change that. Knowing why isn't necessary in the grand scheme of things."
Lawrence took a deep breath before continuing. "I don't expect you boys to comprehend all that I've said. As bright as you two are, you're still young. You've got a lot of learning to do. Only through time can we fully grasp things like this."
Phineas frowned, trying his best to digest his father's lecture. "I...I guess you're right."
Lawrence chuckled at Phineas' admission. "Well, I have been known to be right from time to time."
Candace, in a rare moment of acuity, took this moment to turn the conversation away from the current gloomy topic. "So what are they going to do today?"
"Most of the monuments are going to have special services. I even think the president is going to speak. Then, there's going to be a moment of silence for all of the people who were hurt."
Linda noticed Phineas silently mouth "moment of silence". It looked like he was on another one of his imagination trips again. "When is that going to be?"
"Well, it should be shortly before 9 o'clock."
Phineas glanced at the grandfather clock, nodding to himself. "Then Ferb and I don't have much time left."
"What?" Candace was too busying watching TV to pay much attention.
"Ferb," Phineas proclaimed, grabbing his brother's arm, "Let's go. I know what we're going to do today!" With that, they were off to the backyard.
Linda watched them go, a smile growing on her face. She looked at Candace, still sitting on the arm of the couch. "You're not going to 'bust' them?"
"Eh...no," she admitted, shrugging her shoulders. "I'll let them have their fun. It's probably not the best day to do that, anyways." She got up, heading back upstairs. "I'll be up in my room."
As her daughter left the room, Linda turned back toward her husband. "Well, that went rather well, didn't it?"
Lawrence grimaced slightly. "Yes, I was afraid for a moment there, but they're smart boys. They just need a little time to grasp all of this."
She leaned over, resting her head on his shoulder. "We made great kids, didn't we?"
"Yes. Yes we did."
"And we have a great pet too."
Lawrence scanned the room, a thought bubbling up in his mind. "Speaking of that masterful monotreme, where is Perry?"
Perry was indeed no longer in the Flynn-Fletcher household, but instead flying his hoverboard high in the sky. His destination was not his usual one.
Because today was not a usual day.
He had not even been born yet when the terrible tragedy happened, but being in a government organization, he certainly knew the significance of it. He had seen the news, and had attended past services, but he knew today was important. He did not want to be late for this.
After what seemed like no time at all, he arrived, parking his board in the shadows of the Pentagon nearby. He walked across the courtyard, trying to locate his commander among the people already on site. The patrons, who would have regularly marveled at the sight of a fedora-donning platypus, paid him no heed.
"Ahh, Agent P!"
Perry turned to see his white-haired commander, Major Monogram, standing near one of the benches in the center of the courtyard. He waddled over, giving a quick salute to his superior.
"Glad you could make it, Agent P. I would have brought Carl with me, but he...wanted to be with his family today. I suppose I could at least give him that."
Perry noticed that Monogram's demeanor was different than normal. His serious, somewhat laughable tone was replaced with one of sadness and gloom. He began strolling through the benches, Perry close behind him.
"I remember that day clearly. I was just a young cadet, starting out at O.W.C.A. My superiors were...just as flabbergasted as everyone when the first one hit. It was certainly a horrible thing to witness. I was not there at the time, but my wife was vacationing in the state. It took forever for her to get in touch with me. I had thought, for a moment..."
Monogram paused and stopped walking, taking a moment to recollect himself. Perry, to his credit, patiently waited for him to continue.
"But she was nowhere near the towers that day. She made it back, and we were thankful that everything was OK. Unfortunately, others...were not so lucky."
He looked down at the bench currently in front of him, tears threatening to well up.
"We lost a lot of good people that day, Agent P. A lot of good agents worked tirelessly to make sure the rest of the living could be saved. They all deserve our thanks, human and animal. And I'm glad I'm part of an organization that can continue to make sure the world is in safe hands."
"As am I, Francis."
Perry wheeled around at the voice, and was floored by who he saw: the President of the United States, standing with two of his Secret Service agents flanking either side of him. He was shaking Monogram's hand, as if he was an old friend.
"How is everything going today, Major?"
"Good, good." Monogram seemed to be just as surprised to see the President as Perry was. "I thought you were speaking in New York today."
"Oh, I still am. I have a little bit of time before Air Force One takes off, so I thought I would stop by." He glanced down at the platypus, who was standing at attention like a statue. "This must be the famous Agent P."
"It is, sir."
He smiled, amused. "No need to be at attention, Agent P. We're all colleagues here."
He and Monogram make some small chat while Perry stood nearby. It was a sight to behold, the most powerful man in the country conversing on common ground. It was a wonder how Perry was even able to keep his composure.
The platypus noticed the both of them peering down at the bench, the name of the deceased etched on the side. Both men were now sporting somber looks on their faces.
"If I may ask, Mr. President," Monogram asked, glancing up at his superior's face, "How are you holding up?"
The President looked at the older man, a weak smile on his face. "I am...holding. I know that this is a difficult time for everyone, but today is a day we should celebrate the lives of the ones we've lost, and the people that gave their lives for others. It's not a day to be sad, Major. Not for long, anyway. Thinking about others that have passed on from that day should bring us joy, not sorrow. Those who aren't here would want us to live on. Live their lives for them. Remember them. That's what I believe they would want."
He turned to one of his agents, who looked at his wrist and nodded. "I unfortunately have to leave now; I have to get to New York. I'm sure my wife would love it if I was late to the plane." Chuckling, he gave a warm handshake to both the man and the platypus. "Francis, Perry." He walked away briskly, the two agents at his heels.
"Never ceases to amaze me," Monogram said, and Perry knew he was talking about the President. "He likes to sneak up like a ninja on people. Did that when he was Senator, and still likes to do it now."
He started off again, motioning Perry to him. "Let's go around a little bit more, Agent P; we still have a little bit of time before the ceremony starts."
Perry followed at his heels, the two of them mingling in the growing crowd.
"All right, bro, I think we're done."
Phineas stood back, peeling the welding mask off of his head. The sweat they shed had been worth it; their newest contraption stood in front of them, although this one was only slightly bigger than they were.
"What time is it, Ferb?"
His brother looked at his watch. "Twenty-five before nine."
"OK, so just a little time left. Let's fire this baby up."
Monogram and Perry stood with the rest of the crowd at one end of the courtyard. A giant flatscreen was erected before them, with the President's face on it, the newly built memorial standing behind him.
"And that is why, America, we should stand together not just for today, but for every day. As long as we are together as one nation, we cannot falter."
The president composed himself as the camera panned out to include the crowd gathered in front of him. "And now, if I may...
"Let us remember the ones that left us that tragic day ten years ago."
The entire Flynn-Fletcher family gathered in front of their TV, listening to his words.
"Let us observe a moment of silence, America, for the ones we lost."
Phineas, now no longer in control of his emotions, began silently sobbing. He slowly pulled the remote out of his pocket, and with one final tear, pressed the button.
Perry and Monogram both bowed their heads in respect, as well as the rest of the crowd.
Perry, being the every vigilant agent, began to notice something in the air. A certain thickness was evident in the atmosphere, but he couldn't quite place it. He pressed his finger to his ear, thinking it was just a hearing problem.
He tapped the face of his watch, hoping to make some sense of the disturbance.
Now realizing something was up, he made his signature chortle.
He quickly scrolled through his other channels on his watch, looking at the other cities around the world.
Hong Kong. Tokyo. Paris. London.
Still nothing. No sound was coming from those places at all.
His behavior had not been lost on his superior, for Major Monogram began glancing around the sky, as if looking for something. He looked down at Perry, waving his hand to get his attention. The platypus gazed up at him, confused. He saw Monogram mouth two words.
And then he understood.
The tears that he had been trained so long to keep in were released, no longer able to be contained.
For he knew now what had happened.
In an effort for the world to pay tribute to today, Phineas and Ferb did what they did best.
But this time, it was different.
The boys must have put something together to let the world know that today was something to remember.
For not only the entire nation had gone noiseless...
The entire world...had fallen silent.
This story is dedicated to all of the lives lost on September 11th, 2001. Ten years have passed, but we will never forget what happened that day. And we will never forget you.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: What do you say, to someone so young, about what had happened ten years ago? Does it change anything? Would they even comprehend it? Such questions are something to think about. While I don't have children of my own, I know people who do, and while those kids may be young, they may also be old enough to realize the significance of Sept. 11th. So just...explain it to them as best you can. They're bright. We live in an age where kids are tuned in to what's around them more than ever. They'll understand. Hopefully.
My personal remembrance of Sept. 11th will be on my DeviantArt journal, if you so wish to read it.
Until next time.