1 year, 11 months: thoughts and some questions
Here it is, August 11 already.
At this time last year, we were being inundated with articles about the coming anniversary of 9/11. Who was going to speak where, what each affected city had planned, memorials upon memorials anD concerts in honor of and prayer services for the lost, the dead, the heroes.
A year later we are focused on Iraq and California. We're busy laying blame, telling lies and turning celebrities into politicians.
Meanwhile, I'm walking a thin line between sadness and anger, the same as I did last year and the twelve months before that. I'm both sad and angry that people have dismissed that day, that they no longer want to talk about it or think about it.
We must not forget. We must not forget the terror that cut through a quiet fall morning. More important, we must not forget the way we held hands afterwards.
For a brief, wonderful moment, we were all in this together. We leaned on each other and lent comfort and hope. We gathered together spread our arms out to total strangers. We had resolve. We had strength in our weakest moment. From the flames, hope was forged. In the midst of sadness, comfort was found.
It was all too brief. Once again, we parted ways, divided ourselves into groups and walked down different avenues. In our haste to get back to "normal" we forgot how to stay together. The spark that lit our souls and made us vow to be united become a dull ember, growing darker and darker until no one even remembered it had existed.
We failed to take the single most important lesson from that day with us when we climbed out of our blackness. We did come together, but we did not stay together. We went our separate ways and some turned their anger back on us and spit on us as we mourned.
Some stopped remembering. They stopped staring at the skies, waiting for the lion to awake once again. They stopped comforting each other and stopped thinking about that day.
It is a mistake to think the sleeping lion will always sleep. It is a mistake to think our enemies have spent their energy and will retreat forever. It is a grave mistake to turn from each other again and split this place in two, for that is what our enemy wants, and that's when he will wake and pounce again.
He laughs at us as the day slips farther and farther from our memories. The flags are battered and torn, the signs hanging over freeways broken and written over. He grins as his day of glory becomes less and less of a factor in our lives.
When we forget, we drop our resolve, we lose our strength and we open ourselves up to letting it happen again.
Despite all the increased security, all the color-coded warnings and preparations, we have forgotten the most important thing. We have lost that feeling of urgency, of shared grief, of the solid core of hope we became on that day. We lost our grip on that and now we are like enemies of ourselves, slipping into a wary world where everyone eyes each other as some kind of rival or competitor.
In one month it will be two years. I don't know what the standard period of mourning is for something like this, but I suppose I'll be extending it.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who senses that those 3,000 lives have become somewhat less important to us. For some, they've become important for all the wrong reasons; they are victims used to throw out baseless accusations and useless statistics. They have become the rallying cry of conspiracy theorists.
And what have they become to us? Just tiny little specks off in our distant memory?
The worst thing we can do is become complacent and lose the grief we felt that day. We cannot put the past behind us, at least not this part of the past, because that would only open us up to living the same thing again in the future.
What are you doing on September 11, 2003? Will it be just another day for you or will you take some time to remember? Have you taken anything from that day? Has your life changed, your mind changed, has it had any impact on you besides the obvious? Have any of us learned anything at all?
The cross in the above photo is made of steel from the remains of the World Trade Center. Read more here.
I should also note that this has been an unplanned, stream-of-thought post. I apologize for any typos or unfinished thoughts. I just wanted to put out something raw, as is, no editing.