Circumstances have forced me to stop and think about my reaction to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, so here’s something of a different tone and genre.
The comics of this past Sunday’s paper were filled with panels paying tribute to heroes and allusions to the Twin Towers and the reactions that we all had to 9/11 10 years ago. This one stood out among them:
Thank God that I was not there that day. I was blessed not to know anyone directly hurt by 9/11. I don’t even think that among my classmates, anyone lost any immediate family members; if anyone did, I never heard about it. But I live close enough to NYC. I can remember the fear. I know where I was when I heard the announcement of what had happened over the intercom. I remember one girl, whose father is a pilot, crying in the hallway before she was sent home. We were young, and we didn’t rightly know what was going on. Adults around us were scared and hurting, so we were too.
I was not directly hurt by 9/11 in the way that some were. I witnessed it indirectly, in others’ hurting, in TV coverage, but I understand what Trudeau is getting at, and I sort of share the sentiment. How much are we being hurt by reliving the event? How many of us need to relive the event? We won’t forget; we can’t forget.
9/11 affected me deeply. How could it not? For 10 years, almost half of my life, our country has lived in fear, in a state of constant war.
Those who followed this blog through the summer will know that I wrote a paper for graduate school for which the thesis was that Walden Media’s 2001 cinematic adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is not only a call to Christian battle, but a call to the War On Terror. My research for that paper taught me just how harmful coverage of 9/11 might have been to me and others. Psychological studies show that symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder increased with increased time spent watching coverage of 9/11. I think more people suffer from this than know that they do–myself possibly included. That I can still so clearly see images of that day through the haze of 10 years and a bout of Lyme disease that affected my memory says a lot. So, yes, we’re still suffering from that day, and we won’t forget.
Another thought that’s niggled my brain over the past few days is: Why do people remember the Twin Towers’ collapse and forget about the Pentagon and those who sacrificed themselves and took down the plane on their terms? I’ve yet to stumble across any direct mention of these in my paper. Is it different farther from NYC suburbia?
And one last thought: We came together after 9/11/01. That feeling of unity should be its legacy, not horror. I want to quickly quote Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You”:
“I know Jesus, and I talk to God, and I remember this from when I was young: Faith, Hope, and Love are some good things He gave us, and the greatest is Love.”
Maybe we could all benefit from remembering that again instead of our fear and sadness.