In view of the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11, I thought it would be good to it a little different than normal.
By that I mean in a lot of ways, differently. Not the same. This day has taken on a format and semblance on every anniversary. One of the most critical has always been simply remembering events. For some people it means remembering events of that day they experienced and how the attack on 9/11 intersected with those.
Well, the central 9/11 events then become the driving force but the secondary, personal events become the effects or collateral symptoms. I get it. That matters a lot.
It’s how we remember in associations.
This has always been done in various ways. For me, it has always been kind of sacred and I have not widely shared my personal story about the day. Everyone has one. And everyone’s story is important, at least to them, and no one story is more important than another one. That’s my view. They are all important – both individually and collectively.
So my story is not the issue. I dwell more on the larger picture while keeping the personal sacred. However, there is a lot of common ground in the 9/11events, beyond remembering what you were doing.
It started off the most common of days, as normal as can be. This is the strange thing about it that it was so darn normal. Well, why wouldn’t it be? But almost too normal.
And that normal was breached by an evil that broke through our security bubble we had all taken for granted, which also was normal. The picture perfect day could not have been more normal along with our plans. A normalcy that was disturbed enough to question if we would ever have normal again? It made us long for the normal, rather than getting bored by it. We seemed unsure if normal could return?
Our sense of security, as we knew it, was popped in moments by the events themselves, unfolding in canons of news coverage hour by hour. Our personal world was invaded by outside events. It didn’t matter what you were doing, it had a personal effect on you.
That is why the personal became so important and yet so tied to national events. The two were merged in a way we had never felt before. Small, mundane things became trivial.
So there is a lot more in that day than just what happened and the sequence of events. And all were memorialized at the time in such a way only trauma and major significance can do.
Yet it is sacred that our national innocence was stolen at a time we were feeling most normal was surreal irony. What followed would become the most abnormal experience imaginable. But the reality was, prior to the attacks, conditions only added insult.
So my day, personally, is irrelevant as that goes. I could tell you what I was doing since it is etched in my mind. It is as if someone placed a new blank tape real in my memory just to record those events and what I did, every move and place.
It was preserved and stored in a place to be kept unedited with all the feelings recorded as well. Over the years, I have kept it as it was, then, in that segment of time. I treasured it, respected it, consulted it, and cherished it as my individual copy of history.
No one else had it, no one duplicated it. No one had access to it. And it was as good as anyone’s. I coveted the facts speckled over it. Others would have those facts, too, but no one had my original copy. It was as valuable as other copies, priceless all. Together, they make up a national treasury
A national library of feelings, facts and fears.
And few times over the years have I experienced those same feelings and concerns as that day and weeks that followed. Maybe a glimpse here and there but not on that same level.
One day, as if it were a time capsule, it will be opened for deeper reflection but that day has not yet come. It is sacred. I like my privacy and have a healthy respect for the sacred. Well, it may ferment like wine or get musty from sitting but it will always be there. It cannot be lost or destroyed. It is safe.
“Some people did something…“– Rep. Ilhan Omar to CAIR on March 23, 2019.
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