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.

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