My mom forwarded this email from her friend Brian who works for United…
This was sent to my by a family member……….
Do you remember where you were on this day, and at this time?
I sure do……Do we really want to ever forget???? I know in my heart that I do not ever want to forget…………………….
I lost co workers, a classmate, and friends…………….
What about you???????????
(Text of “Meet Me In The Stairwell” and approximately 15,326 9/11 pictures redacted)
Yes, actually, I do want to forget.
Fully 20% of my adult life has passed since 9/11/2001. I’m on address number 6, car number 6, motorcycle number 4, and relationship number 5 since that day. My 6th grader is now old enough to drive to the store and buy tequila. Not that she should.
I realized this day was coming up, and I got to thinking. At some unspecified point, each of us will stop for a moment on the 10th of September and think, “You know what? That happened a really long time ago.”, shrug and get on with their lives.
For me, that point was about 5 years ago. But this year, there’s a new and special meaning to my complete and utter non-caring about the events of 11 September 2001.
My girlfriend has a 7 year old daughter. She was born into this world after the events of 9/11/2001.
What happened on that day is as distant and abstract to her as the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the Moon Landing is to me.
It is as distant as Pearl Harbor and the Great Depression is to my mother.
I look at Mags as she is today, and I’m aware (now, in my 40’s, with a sight that I certainly did not have in my 20’s, with my own daughter) that it’s my job – my duty – to do my part build the world that she will grow up into. So far, I don’t like the world that my fellow Americans have managed to build since the fall of 2001, and it’s certainly not a world I would want to gift to the next generation. It’s a world where Americans live in terror of…”terror”. We have fear pounded into our heads 24/7 by the likes of Fox News, and I maintain that it’s really, *really* not healthy for us – as individuals, or as a nation.
Annually, America has a tradition. We trot out our flag, our Stars and Stripes, the good ‘ol Red, White, and Blue, every year on the Fourth of July to celebrate the triumphs of our Freedom. Our Liberty. Our Equality.
However, for most of the last decade, we then turn right around two months later and trot those exact same symbols out and celebrate our abject helplessness in the face of an unknowable and alien menace. What started out as a “terrorist threat” has been systematically expanded upon by certain members of the press – so now that unknowable and alien menace includes not only the 10,000 members of Al Qaeda, but also “the illegals” – you know, those scary folks who mow your lawn and bus your dishes. Because ‘terrorists’ might come through the border. Never mind that they never have in the past, this is a LOOMING MENACE!
Fuck that whole culture of fear mongering right in its little overworked tear ducts.
We’re strong. We’re proud. We are a nation of 350 million Americans, and we do not need to live in fear of the 10,000 members of Al Qaeda. They can’t hurt us. They never have been able to. The only enemy to our liberty, to our freedom, is us. We keep right on trotting out The Crying Eagle every September, and in the process of remembering the people who died that day, we also conjure up the fear and uncertainty that we felt at the time. We collectively, WILLINGLY subject ourselves to an episode of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We remind each other to remember where we were, what we were doing, how we felt – we pressure each other to re-live that horrible day. And we are transported there, however briefly, and we do indeed relive those feelings. And therefore we reinforce (on an annual basis) those feelings of fear – that the world isn’t the safe place it was in, say, the 1980’s, when we had SEVENTY THOUSAND nuclear warheads pointed at each other. And when we reinforce that fear, we abstract it – and so we become afraid of *everything*.
So, coming back to Mags – I don’t want to gift her a world where Americans live in fear. I don’t want to gift her a world where the pointing finger of blame at the other guy is what makes the world go around.
I want to gift her a world where “United States” is abbreviated *US* – and that means there is no *THEM* – because “they” simply don’t have the power to hurt us.
And that means giving those civilians who died in September of 2001 the same level of respect and honor that I give those who died (for example) at Pearl Harbor and aboard the USS Maine – but no more than that.
And *that* means that it’s time to let go. It’s time to stop reminding each other about what Saturday is…
It’s time to reintroduce The Crying Eagle to the wild, and watch him soar on wings of Independence.