Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the memory remains

People are apt to forget.

That's what we do. We adapt to a new way of being, we fall quickly into a new realm of normal. People come into our lives and leave our lives and we quickly find our step. Jobs are had and lost, we move from house to house, we love, we lose, we start all over again.

Every September 11th, I look through a box in my closet. Newspapers dated Sept. 12th, 2001 with headlines like "WAR" or "AMERICA'S DARKEST DAY" or "ATTACK ON AMERICA". Sometimes I think I should do something...cook a dinner or hold a cocktail party or something to get my friends together on 9/11. To force them to remember too.

But I almost rather my own intimacy with a day that stretched across the world in a single minute.

September 11th wasn't just a day of horrible tragedy. I am almost more drawn to the feeling of being woken up for the first time rather than of being horrifically shocked. Things are always happening in other parts of the world. It's easy to think nothing happens in your backyard. On 9/11 - New York City felt like our back yard.

And I make sure to remember.

I can go through days where the events of that day don't cross my mind. I won't think about the hunter green convertible I passed on an empty small town street, two teenage girls driving in the front seat and a teenage boy perched on the back - large American flag waving in the wind. I don't think about how Kim and I became a tad bit uncomfortable with the rustling corn fields that stood in the back of our office building. My mind raced with imagination. I wondered if suddenly guerrilla forces would pop out from those cornfields, armed, ready.

Days can go by when I don't think about what my aunt must be feeling day in and day out. If she ponders over the choice she made to leave the South Tower when so many were heading back upstairs - just to hit the street as it all came falling down.

Days can go by.

But I always make sure to remember. I read through newspapers, I watch old news footage, look at old photos. I keep 9/11/01 in the back of my mind, tucked away in boxes for this day especially. Just to remember.

There are other days like that. November 3rd is always the day I woke to my Grandfather's last breath. Every day of the winter months bring with their chilly air the absolute wrenching of Brandon's death.

I don't think about where I'm going or not going on 9/11. I don't think about what I've done - or not done. I just think about that day. How it all stopped. How it all changed.

And how it all remains.

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

My family was just discussing whether the memory would ever get less "wrenching" and if we wanted it to? I know exactly what I was doing when I first heard, and I remember the first time I heard a plane fly over afterwards, months later ... how strange it seemed after so much silence in the skies. I'm a huge movie fan but I won't go see any movie about that time - I tried to watch Rescue Me even though everyone raves about it. The beginning sequence of the first episode just destroyed me.