I posted this entry on my old Blog three years ago today. I re-post it here now because it continues to represent how I feel about 9/11/2001 and its aftermath. My flag is out today; I hope that yours is, too!
This morning, I made sure I was up and lucid well before 8:46a so that I could reflect, during the requested moment of silence, on what happened five years ago.
A moment’s not really enough, of course, to think all of the thoughts that should be thought. To honor all of the people, those that died for nothing more than going to work or getting on a plane that morning, those that died trying to save them, and those that survived to carry on. This would be all of us.
I suppose it’s an amazing ability of the human race, and perhaps, in particular, Americans, to pick themselves up and go on after great tragedy. And, sometimes over the course of the past five years, I’ve felt that one could almost pretend that 9/11 didn’t happen at all, because so many other awful things have occurred to take its place.
Over the past several days leading up to this day, we’ve been bombarded by journalistic attempts to remind us that we must remember this day; all that happened on it, and everything that has changed as a result. One article talked about how 9/11 would never have occurred had our government been more competent. Another discussed the differences between physical memorials to tragic events and memory memorials. Several articles reiterated the sentiment that America “lost her innocence” on 9/11, and that we, the collective we, finally woke up to the realization that we are not beloved all over the world and that we are not invincible. And yes, that we are in danger.
The most poignant article I read relayed many of the final phone conversations between 9/11 victims and their loved ones; those that they chose to call in the last minutes of their lives; spouses, fathers, mothers, children, before they succumbed to their fate. This article impacted me the most because it addressed that, in the end, what is most important to us are the people that we love.
At 8:43a this morning, I turned off the washer and sat at the bistro table in my kitchen looking out onto Saratoga Drive. I could hear the slight, distant rumble of the ever-present sounds of construction work going on nearby. I watched the flag my husband put out this morning flutter slightly in the breeze and was pleased to see that, because the morning was grey and gloomy, the vibrancy of its colors were noteworthy.
I became aware that the construction noises had stopped. The only sound was Clyde crunching away on his dry food (and I can hardly blame a cat for not being silent during this time). Although I was saddened to see that no one else on our street was flying a flag this morning, I was pleased that, apparently, the construction workers, all likely illegal immigrants, had paused in their work out of respect for those that died and for a country that they feel they are a part of.
A few days ago, I forwarded an email I’d received, one requesting everyone to fly an American flag on 9/11, to several family members and friends. One friend wrote back in a quite grouchy manner that, in essence, flying a flag was a worthless gesture and that, by the way, 9/11 wasn’t this nation’s worst tragedy, The Civil War had that dubious honor.
When I read this response, I was irritated. I thought about sending back a curt reply about this person’s (supposed) insensitivity. But, I didn’t, first, because he is a decent person and also because I know he tends to explore different “perspectives” on a routine basis (Socialism, Communism, now something called Objectivism) which is all his right to do and it is also his right to have a different opinion than mine (imagine that!) I figured the best way to respond was with a gentle, “I simply thought this was a nice way to remember all of those who died on 9/11”.
He almost immediately wrote back and apologized for being cranky. He also sent me a link to a site one of his web buddies had created to memorialize 9/11.
As I ramble on and on regarding this subject this morning, now well over an hour after the moment of silence, I am blessed in that I am here to do so, and, that no one I knew (that I know of) died on that day. At one point, a few weeks after 9/11 when they started to publish the names of people in the paper that had been killed, I read the name of my ex husband. I read it again. I wondered if it could be him as his name was fairly common (someone with his name actually signed the Declaration of Independence, too!) Although we were not speaking to one another then (for he’d done something yet again to really anger me), I worried about him enough to talk to my mom; she then called his mom, and he, a few days later, sent me an email telling me that he was fine.
My point in all of this is that, obviously, no one should have died that day, including those that we did not like.
All of this is what ran through my head in the time I sat here silently thinking. In total, about 5 minutes.
5 minutes. I could say that I should have thought more, that I should do more, than I have done. But, I think that I have in that I, and all of the rest of us, have accomplished the most important thing we could do in the past five years to honor the people that died and to thwart the organizations that killed them, and that is to refuse to be cowed in fear and to continue to live.