I debated posting this. Because, really, do we need another 9/11 commemoration? I think we’ve reached a point of such media saturation that another story cannot add anything; it can only take something away.
But I decided to write because of one small poster I saw in my neighborhood.
For those who don’t know me personally, I live in Battery Park City, about a five minutes walk from Ground Zero. (I did not live here ten years ago on 9/11/2001.)
Matt and I decided to treat the ten year anniversary like the hurricane; to stay inside and wait it out until its over. The crowds of people, tv crews, police, etc … are so overwhelming down here, that it’s literally impossible to walk more than a block without being stopped by the impasse. If we left our building, we might not be able to get back in again.
I have mixed feelings about this glut of media attention. I’m not sure the constant rhetoric of “Never Forget!” is making us more mindful. I think it may be making us more numb.
Still, I’ve been deeply sad all day. It’s not my personal sadness (I was lucky; I didn’t personally know any of the victims of 9/11, though I know those who did, and I always make sure to call them every anniversary). For me, 9/11 was like it was for most of America – a national experience. It’s that collective sadness that I feel today.
Every generation has a defining experience. If you ask anyone from my parent’s generation -the babyboomers – “where were you when you found out that John F. Kennedy had been shot?” – they can tell you exactly where they were. Just like everyone in my grandparent’s generation remembers exactly where they were when they heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For my own generation, that collective memory is 9/11. No, we’re not ever going to forget.
But as for that poster I saw a couple days ago, the one that made me post this….
The poster hung in front of Saint Paul’s chapel, which opened itself up after 9/11 to provide round the clock refuge and relief for rescue workers. The message stood out among all the “Never Forget”s.
(If you can’t read the text in the photo, it says – “Remember to Love”)