Thursday, September 10, 2009

On September 11th

I was there that day. My office was 10 blocks away. I saw it happen as I was driving around the long traffic-filled curve heading into the Lincoln Tunnel from the Jersey side. I thought it was so odd -- this low white cloud -- until I realized it was a building on fire. Then the second plane hit. I pulled into the tunnel, and by the time I made it to 5th Avenue, heading downtown, the streets were almost empty of vehicles, and the streets were lined with people trying frantically to call their loved ones. Straight ahead of me was one of the towers, a diagonal gash in it, pouring fire.

I remember all of it. I remember every horrible bit.

And I want it to be over. I am tired to death of memorial events ripping open that wound every year.

I am tired of worrying what the families feel of firefighters and police and rescue workers whose loved ones died on ORDINARY days, days when we were not under attack. Their loved ones don't get regaled as heros every year. Their families didn't get millions of dollars of funds distributed to them.

Yet they are no less deserving. It took no less courage for them to run into the tower a few years before 9/11 at the first bombing incident. Or to run into a burning house, or apartment building. Or to be in a car chase with armed felons.

I'm tired of all the agruing about the memorial site. No group of mourners will ever be 100% in happy agreement about it. Stop trying to make that happen. Build the best one you can and be done.

I'm tired of the anti-Arab sentiment that gets ginned up every anniversary of 9/11.

I'm tired of us holding up 9/11 like it is the worst loss to an enemy any country in this decade or so has ever gone through. Look around -- the world is full of losses even bigger than this, and they are still happening.

I know that we must know history to not repeat it. But we must stop repeating the story long enough to move forward, and long enough for the wound to heal, and not become some festering national touchstone.

Let those who lost people in this wretched and senseless tragedy grieve them. Let them find some respite for themselves.

I don't want the loss to be our icon -- I want our recovery to have that place.

Dear Lord,
Please heal us. Teach us to remember the dead and to honor their memory -- without making this day into a day when we tear open that which could be healing, and when we divide that which should be united. Let us honor all who died trying to save others -- not just few. Let us remember without getting mired down in the past. Let us remember yesterday, but with today's eyes. We ask you for this or for something even more healing than we can imagine today. Thank you, Lord, and amen.


Blogger TSannie said...

But we must honor/respect the day.

Life doesn't stop, but for a few moments, honor the day.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

Amen Mata, amen.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

I liked your post, Mata.

3:02 AM  

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