One of the best stories I read after the attacks was an AP piece about what America did on the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor. It was an attempt to give us all a little perspective, I think. This is something along similar lines.
And in case anybody forgot the guy who planned the attacks, he’s still out there, so that’s a nice comforting thought.
I don’t know how to feel about the orgiastic made-for-television displays we now use in place of actual mourning. I find them cheap, like plastic birthday decorations, and I wonder who they help, who among the living finds any kind of emotional truth there. If it helps anyone who lost someone that day or has lost someone in all our wars since then, I’m glad for that.
I always see the signs and stickers that say “Never Forget!” as an accusation, a way to claim the person who has that slogan feels more than I do, more than you do. Of course we’re not going to forget, are you mad? But what does remembering mean?
Our leaders have been very, very clear about what kind of action you must take if you “truly” honor those who died on 9/11. Their verbal shorthand leaves little doubt about the appropriate way to respond. I know this enrages a lot of people; me it just confuses. Why must I feel that way? Why?
I’ll be spending the night with some very dear friends, no doubt hashing all these things over. That’s the way I choose to remember and honor: by being close to people I would be close to anyway, by continuing to try to think of this in new ways, and by talking about a way out of this mess we’re in. Feel free to write in with your own stories about today.