Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sept 11 commemorations are coming and I do not want to watch them

I know. Sept 11th. A day of tragedy. I witnessed it. I saw the towers burn 10 blocks from my office, and I saw the people covered with ashes run by. I was trapped in Manhattan with all exits closed. I worked near Ground Zero for months afterwards.

I inhaled the dust of dead bodies.

I saw the posters, the shrines, the memorials. I went to a funeral that had an empty casket.

I know. I lived in the heart of it.

I cried every day for a month at least.

I am tired of how we slash open the wound every year. These 5,000+ people died horrible, tragic deaths. So have many more --- our soldiers in wars, other police, firemen and EMT workers who died in "ordinary disasters", and on and on -- yet we do not read their names every year - or send their children to college, or give their families annual honors.

If one uses the argument that people on 9/11 died at the hands of foreign nationals, so it is different - well, people died the 1st time the Towers were bombed in 1993, years before. But what is done to memorialize them?

How do we chose whose deaths are special enough to recall? I understand the magnitude of 9/11, but how can we move on if we keep fanning the flames of deep grief? When is enough enough?

I am NOT saying that the people who died should be forgotten. Not at all.

But I am wondering how the wife of a cop feels who lost her husband to a mugger.Or how a fireman's family feels when their father died putting out a chemical fire in a warehouse. Or the soldier's widow whose husband was killed in Iraq. How do they feel when they see how other families are treated in comparison?

It is time to find another expression for this event.

We are about to go through the 10th anniversary. Police are beefing up, bracing for hate crimes. We have kept this wound alive each year. It is time we worked for healing it.


Blogger Linnea said...

What you write makes sense

7:17 AM  
Blogger Jeanny House said...

I was thinking of what I might say in a blog on this topic when I went to the mall yesterday (here in Wisconsin) and saw signs plastered all over asking "How will you remember 9/11?" and suggesting different possibilities - work for a cause, go to a memorial service, etc.

I wondered then and I still wonder whether it is time for our national wallow in grief to end. Remaining in this place of constant reminder of the terrible thing that happened tells us that we are victims. How long do we want to remain victims? When might we, instead, choose to become empowered agents of change in the world?

11:00 AM  

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