Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/11 All Over Again

We each remember the day so clearly, the perfect blue sky for those of us nearby in the Northeast, all crispness and clarity, the very best of fall in New England. We all remember in literally excruciating detail what we were doing, how we heard, the endless loops of destruction playing out over and over on our televisions, the emergency calls and commentary and analysis, rhetoric and remembrances, and throughout, the astonished collective grieving.

Ten years have passed, both quickly and painfully slowly. Two wars have multiplied and misdirected death and destruction in ways we could not, but should have, imagined. International solidarity has been transmuted into a complex soup of contradictory and self-justifying impulses.

People magazine’s cover profiles 9-year-olds born after the devastation of their fathers’ unexpected deaths, who will never know them. Every publication has manufactured coverage, some lesson or lecture or occasion for taking stock and counting blessings. Localities across the nation have scrambled to create memorials befitting the losses and the learnings of a decade, no doubt with varying degrees of success, but all with the intention to wrest something noble from the wreckage.

For those who suffered unimaginable losses on that day (and in the years since, in ways related or unrelated to 9/11), the evocation of grief is necessary, but necessarily painful. For those whose griefs are newer, the anniversary raises them afresh.

In the stunned aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I promised myself to do everything I could to make my own days matter, to honor those who wouldn’t have that chance. The past weeks have been a time of taking stock, and renewing that promise to myself.

Mary for the Poplar Grove Muse

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