Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11 - not just a date anymore, like December 7 (day of infamy) and July 7 (the day Kerry died) They are watershed dates, individually or culturally, the days before turns into after. I think the book Falling Man catches that separation of Before and After very well. It happens with other things - like a diagnosis of a terminal or serious illness too. Laurie Siefers catches it in the NPRMyCancer blog - two befores and afters - Leroy's diagnosis, and his death. I wonder how many turning point events are left in my life - how many fresh starts I have left in me - both in my personal life and as a citizen of the world.

I realize that I could be having political thoughts around September 11, but I just don't - grieving thoughts only. And thoughts toward actions I can take to help people lean not to hate, not to separate around divides of religion, nation, race, class - all the things we use to make people "the other" - "the enemy"

My September 11 seven years later has passed and Hurricane Ike is roaring toward the Texas coast, but mostly life goes on as usual. I'm surprised by how little comment people give this date - seem to be going through a period of silent mourning and commemoration, maybe trying to make sense of the change in the world internally. Several people I know and respect have said they have no words about the events of this date seven years ago. I still have words, need words need to focus and to grieve. I have been looking at pictures of myself at a Fire fighter shrine (outside firehouse near the towers) and at the beautiful large framed photograph K.K. and I bought from a local New Yorker which depicts the towers vibrant at sunset.On a friend's blog I saw pictures of the towers just being themselves on an ordinary day - and most movingly, a picture of friends joyfully dining at Windows on the World. That one made me weep. I wanted to eat there - a romantic fantasy never possible now.

I think the silence around this day for so many people catches my attention as another evidence of how individually people grieve.

4 comments:

Mary said...

I had the feeling on September 11 and the days following that it was the end of the world as we knew it. And in some ways I still believe it was. I have never really felt safe again; and it is an awful feeling to think that at any moment my world may blow up for no rational reason.I might be on a plane that a terrorist lurks on. I might be in the shopping center that terrorists target.

When I was a child I grew up with a sense of safety. I also recollect that our 'enemies' were countries such as the Soviet Union, but they also valued human life as we do, so at least our enemy was also thought to be rationale. Not so the enemy of today who thinks nothing of blowing himself/herself up to further their cause. Yes, it is the end of the world as I knew it.

I am happy that I had dinner with friends one time at the Windows of the World Restaurant at the top of the WTC. I will never forget that. Ever!

I am sad for all of the people who died in the Twin Towers, the people who died in planes, the firefighters and rescue workers who lost their lives or who still today suffer fro PTSD. I am sad for all that was lost as the Twin Towers came crashing down, lives and businesses and so much more.

It is disheartening to realize there are people who wish to bring America down just because it is America, to hurt, kill, maim, destroy at the World Trade Center and Pentagon attack.

But though 9 /11 was a horrible day, we all have lived through it.... Americans are resilient, and we have gone on. Sadder perhaps. Less trusting perhaps. More watchful perhaps. But we have gone on.

I am surprised too about many people's lack of words about September 11. All of the deaths of people leading their ordinary lives. Lives lost or shattered. Buildings destroyed. Many lives of survivors forever changed. Including the lives of many who weren't anywhere near the WTC but who watched and now remember. I do have words...of mourning.

Peggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peggy said...

(Sorry to mess up your blog with a deleted post but I wanted to correct some of my typos LOL)

I was thinking yesterday (Sept. 11) of how the event effected our community. One of the things I thought about was how frightened of backlash local Muslim people were and the action that community took to create better understanding and a better connection with the rest of the community.

There was backlash and I recall being concerned for the newly opened Islamic elementary school in our city and some of the ugly calls we received at the newspaper from "patriotic" people who painted all Muslims with a terrorist brush.

Overall I think the effect of local Muslim people reaching out and becoming more visible was positive.

The 9-11 event did not change my personal feeling of safety as I think I always felt our country vulnerable. I was surprise really that no one had succeeded before in some larger scale terrorist attack. I remember well as a child being very fearful of atomic destruction during the Cold War.

I do wonder if the country has really increased the safety for the population since 9-11. They make a big show of it but there is still much vulnerability. I do not feel any safer now than right after 9-11.

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