With the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks coming up, I'm periodically -- meaning, when the mood strikes -- going to post some relevant "material" regarding that day. In all the time I've been writing on this site, I've kind of skirted the issue, but 9/11 was a day that changed my life in a very, very personal way, and this particular anniversary seems to be getting me to talk with people about it a lot more, as opposed to pretending it didn't happen, which is essentially how I've dealt with it in years past.
I didn't see this until today, but it's a topic that's been timely every day for the past decade for thousands of people in the New York area. It's also something that strikes a nerve with me in a pretty major way.
I realize that readership on this blog is starting to grow again, and that I have a lot of readers from places far away from New York -- which I've always thought was cool given the fact that this site has always been so focused on New York. What I'd really like to get across to people who don't live here -- and people who've moved here since then, or are too young to really remember -- is that there's still a massive segment of the population in this area that's still dealing with 9/11's aftereffects every single day. It's not something people generally talk about, so it's been swept under the rug to an extent as something someone else has to deal with, but for a lot of us, it surely doesn't feel like ten years have gone by. More like ten minutes.
9/11 is somewhat paradoxical with regard to the feelings of people who were involved. It was such a massively unpleasant experience for so many -- an understatement, for sure -- that I know several people who simply don't mention it at all, opting instead to act as though it never happened. When that happens, however, people who weren't involved forget -- and you can tell they've forgotten, or never really understood how bad it really was, by the things they say and they way they act.
This year, I'm choosing to confront it head on and remember it the way it actually happened. With everything that's gone on since, I think the memories we have of that day, at least here in New York, have been distorted, and something's been lost. My focus is squarely on the friends, family and acquaintances I lost that day, and that's where it's going to stay from now on. All the conspiracy theories in the world aren't going to bring them back, so the least I can do is keep their memory alive in my little corner of New York.
When everyone stands at the podium and offers up their little platitudes in three weeks -- and we all know it's coming -- I'd suggest everyone take some time to remember the locals.