It’s September 11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on American soil, a day of tribute in every corner of the media, as if journalistic solemnity and political maneuvering will aid in our reflection of the day.
I want to ignore this day, let nightfall come without hearing any news of tributes or moments of silence or group singalongs or—heaven forbid—any new bad news. The world doesn’t want to let me stick my head in the sand, though. Everything I read pertains to the date.
The wise and least painful action would be to bow our heads at the start of the day in remembrance of those we have lost, and then to get on with the real world again. How much time and effort, money and energy is the U.S. spending on tributes? How much more could our journalists uncover, could our F-14’s in the sky observe, could our politicians do rather than cover their tails lest they be considered callous?
My heart gets heavy when I recall last year and the temporary hell in which I lived. I fill with sadness when I think of my good friend in Jersey, a noble policeman with a policeman uncle whose son died that day, a son whose wife’s face now reflects perpetual sadness, a son whose own son bears the name and a striking resemblance to the father he no longer has.
Yet the grandiose schedule of this day annoys me. President Bush yammering about attacking Iraq while our intelligence agencies have yet to finish the task of eliminating the major terrorist circles that threaten new attacks does nothing to help my personal sense of well-being. Political assurance and media hype alleviate no pain.
I suppose, though, that we need to feel this pain in order to conquer it. I believe in healing processes and honoring the brave and the innocent who died for no reason, and I must go through the process with the rest of the city, and the nation.
My heart goes out to everyone who hurts on this day, for while I was fortunate to not get hurt directly, I felt much of the same pain, and I am aware of the very real possibility that we will never again be fully secure.
For those wishing to read more, here is my journal from September 2001 and Adam Oestreich’s first-hand account of his experience downtown last September 11.