September 10, 2002

9-11

I wanted, indeed tried, to ignore this anniversary.

I can sometimes zone out for a couple of weeks and just coast through unpleasant times.

I told myself it was too soon for remembrances. Remembrances are for events that have receded in collective memory. We need to relearn the lessons of history, not reopen barely formed scars.

For a couple of weeks I tried not to turn on the news or flip through channels because there was the inevitable image of.. well, you know.

It's not going to work.

While I still bemoan any commercialization of this event, including ads that take advantage of the fact that people are tending to stay close to home, and most strongly protest the inclusion of the dreaded Celine Dion in the proceedings, I have to grudgingly admit that there is some psychological need to address what happened a year ago.

So I've given up and stopped avoiding CNN
(the only American all-news cable channel that is available to me).

As a Canadian, I don't feel removed from the attacks; I don't feel that the border, only about forty miles south of my home, is relevant to the heart of the situation.
This was an attack on North America, on our way of life.
Americans tend to forget that Canadians are here but we are here and, arguably, identify more on a day to day basis with the 'States than with our historical heritage, Britain.
I am also Jewish by birth (if not by practice) which makes me among the most hated.

So I feel entitled to experience the horror as if it happened in my own country.

Yesterday I went back into my archives and read the entries immediately before and after Sept. 11, 2001.

In one of them, I reported that my son Rob asked me if they had put a name to the date yet, such as "Black Tuesday".

That didn't ever happen.

It's September 11, or 9-11.
Occasionally the "terrorist attacks" but most often, 9-11.

Most holidays and remembrances and celebrations, even if known by their dates (Oct. 31, July 4) have names.
There was probably no word or phrase that could convey the experience better than "September 11."

I am fortunate to not have lost anyone on that day. I can't compare how Sept. 11 affected me to the way it affected people in New York and Washington and those who lost people on the airplanes.

But it did affect me.

For days I was glued to the TV; I watched the planes hit the towers over and over.
I thought about the horror of being in one of them or in the buildings.
I knew I shouldn't continue watching but I had to. Like maybe the next time it would turn out differently.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, when I see a city skyline, any city, I cringe.

Until Sept. 11, you had to figure that an enemy would have a sense of self-preservation.
You had to figure that they didn't want to die as much as you didn't.
No longer.
I guess this isn't a new concept in war and terrorism but it didn't seem to be as prevalent or on such a grand scale.
The list of possibilities became infinite that day.

In the days and weeks following September 11, 2001, carrying on normal daily activities was very strange. I kept hoping for someone to tell me what to do next, as if I were in a play. Normal routine didn't want to apply itself any longer.

Now, a year later, it's still hard to apply any historical perspective.
I know this isn't the worst tragedy to ever befall mankind.
But it's the worst flagrant act of war in my hemisphere in my lifetime.
There's no way I can't be subjective, especially in early September.

And now (Tuesday afternoon) the terror alerts are heightened; Cheney is back in his bunker; and less attention is being paid to last year, and more to the present.

They aren't even affording us the opportunity to properly grieve.


Linque Du Jour:   Another September 11 Entry
This one is from Baker Street. Beautifully written and thought out, by a Washington area resident.



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