The other thing about the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001, is that it’s the ten year anniversary of that day — in 2001.
It’s always bugged me how people — by and large politicans — took that date and co-opted it for their own agendas. While Guilani did an amazing job immediately following the attacks, he would later be mocked in his search to be President, as he seemingly invoked the memory and substance of that day at every turn and with the slightest provocation, uttering the phrase “9/11” so much that it started to lose meaning; or at least believibilty in his sincerity about the matter.
In the days and weeks that followed the attacks, people from across the country bonded together in an effort to attempt to make right what had been so unexpectedly and violently torn asunder. At that point, it seemed the sentiments of “what can we do to help?” outweighed the hate speech.
But soon, the moniker “9/11” was being used to market
anything and everything: chintzy goods most likely made in China; hatred and suspicion of anyone remotely Middle Eastern; political agendas; the immediate and large expansion of the military-industrial complex; and an vague, unknown, generalized fear.
If you weren’t with the program, you weren’t a patriot. You had forgotten “9/11.” “9/11” was the reason we needed to take precautionary measures; to start to take our freedoms away in measures we hadn’t seen enacted since Joe McCarthy had been trying to ferret out all the Communists. And hadn’t we looked back on his tactics with disdain, realizing how awful they were; how un-American the whole thing was?
But still. “9/11.” “9/11.” At first, people were more than willing to comply. Anything in the wake of shock, terror, and most people’s need to stand together as a country against whomever had committed such unspeakable acts of violence to us, on our own soil. And then they really became unspeakable. They became just general references to “Osama,” “Al Queda,” and “9/11.”
Repeated over and over, the year was left off permanently. That always struck me as odd. Even on 9/11/01, other people died, were born, had anniversaries. Other people were in car accidents, victims of crime, fell in love. But most certainly on all of the September 11ths to follow, people lived lives — here in the United States and all across the world. Tragedies kept occurring, and wonderful demonstrations of hope, love and peace did, too.
There’s no denying that 9/11/01 left a mark on America’s history; one that forever changed our worldview and our cultural landscape. But for those who lived through it — on whatever scope, to whatever degree — no one needs to tell us to “never forget.”
I don’t think it’s ever really “forgive and forget.” I think it’s forgive and be changed. Forgive and help others. Forgive and show someone else how to walk through a similar experience. Forgive and be healed.
I said in my earlier post that I didn’t personally lose someone that day. That remains true. I can’t begin to know what it was like for those who were there. But I know we all lost something that day, and the more time passes, the more I wish for it back. A freedom we no longer possess; freedom from chronic, low-level fear — fancied or real.
I’ve been told that sort of stuff has the power to kill. And frankly, I think we’ve had about enough killing.