Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 post - 10th anniversary

It would be remiss not to acknowledge the events of September 11th, 2001.

But I don't know what to write about it.

Like all of you, I can tell a long story about where I was, and how it affected me personally.  I think these stories are important.  They're how we know the event happened as something other than images on a TV screen or in a headline.

I've told the story before, and I'll likely tell it again sometime, but not here or today.  Its just what happened to me and to Jamie.  It is not what happened in New York or at The Pentagon or in Pennsylvania.  And its not what happened in the days following, with candlelight vigils, American flags hanging from housefronts, and calm unity and certainty in the face of not just tragedy but of absolute and frightening change to how we thought about the world.

This is where I stop, because in reviewing the timeline, I'll start rambling on, and I strongly suspect that our visions of the world will differ, and I don't want to have that conversation.

The world didn't begin or end on 9/11/2001.  It changed.  And like a lot of changes (something we aren't very well equipped at dealing with in a single generation), the world changed enough that we had a chance to reveal ourselves, and for a short while, we were okay, and we got through it.  We remembered that emergency personnel are true heroes, that soldiers go to war for us, and that the civilization we've built will always have some on the outside who will crash against the walls.  That was for a while, and like all changes, this one showed new sides to us that we've not yet reconciled.

This isn't the place for anything else to write on the topic.  No doubt, you'll have skipped this or breezed through it, along with a thousand other 9/11 memorials and tributes that will pass by you today.

I don't know what to think about.  The victims, most certainly.  The first responders, absolutely.  The hi-jackers?  Why they were there and a half-century of policy most of us think about once or twice a year?  A strange man in a cave that we've finally killed a decade later?  The line from there to now and the thousand things I never guessed I'd see?

The fact that in 100 years this date may well be forgotten?  Or that this date in 2111 may well be remembered just enough to be used by mattress stores to discount their wares?

I don't know.  I know we'll see a hell of a lot of replays of footage I watched over and over 10 years ago, and I'll be able to remember sitting in a hotel room on the bed, uncertain of what was live and what was replay and watching the still aircraft on the tarmac for days, wanting to see them move and not wanting to see a solitary plane in the sky.