The 10th Anniversary of 9/11


Even 10 years later, a part of me remains numb, cut off from comprehending it all, as if that were possible at all … comprehending…

When tragedies of this scale happen, a part of me freezes. It’s not that I don’t feel anything; I do. Last night, while watching documentaries about September 11, 2001, it hit me all over again, like a wound that hadn’t healed all the way, one that had a scab ripped off once more, and the tears flowed yet again.

Remembering back, I had been home less than a week, after a month-long screenwriting program in L.A., a year before I moved there. I was back in grad school and had just been cast in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” We were scheduled to have a rehearsal that night. I remember sleeping in that day, and getting a phone call from my mom to turn on the television. She had gone into work early, for a meeting I think, and heard about it there. The first tower had already been hit. It was surreal and nightmarish to watch it all unfold … in New York, in D.C., in Pennsylvania…

I didn’t know anyone personally who died or survived those direct attacks, but several friends did. The grandson of one of my mom’s best friends was one of the heroes. He worked in one of the Twin Towers and helped rescue a woman in a wheelchair, getting out just in time before the collapse. Another friend, a flight attendant, knew one of the flight attendants who was killed. Friends in the military and those living next to bases shared what they witnessed. Other friends lived in Manhattan and saw firsthand the devastation. And reading all the tributes and remembrances by friends on Facebook today, so many other friends too … all painting vivid pictures of where they were when it happened, and how it affected them, with some telling about those they knew and loved who had died or been rescued or had escaped, or of what they witnessed in person.

It’s not that we’re trying to stir up old emotions, as some people have suggested. Yes, life goes on. But this is the 10th anniversary of a national tragedy. Some have said it’s this generation’s Pearl Harbor. I understand that you might want to to stay away from all the death, as a family member told me. Sometimes there’s just too much heaviness to bear it all, and that’s okay too… The world keeps moving, life continues without those who have gone ahead of us… People did laundry today, went to church, ran to the store, fixed dinner, watched rugby or movies, comedies — while others visited family in hospitals, dealt with the illness of a pet, fixed a broken-down washing machine or air-conditioner, cut the grass, went to work, or looked for work…

It’s a Sunday, but it’s hardly ever one of rest these days for many of us … and for that we can count our blessings… Because there are thousands, who were just like us, who did the same things the day before …and they are at rest now… Life is so short here on this side of Heaven and so precious and priceless … I hope we breathe in all the moments and relish and appreciate all of life, even during our own personal trying times… We’re still here… We still have life to do…

Remember, too, that everyone handles tragedy in different ways. We all process it differently, even those who seem indifferent. Realize that you may not see the tears they cry before they fall asleep at night…

As Americans and as human beings, we were all affected that day … and we will never forget … because we can’t … and shouldn’t.

I’ve been spending this 10th anniversary in reflection and a bit of prayer. I watched the Memorial Service this morning and have read some accounts and watched more documentaries today, listening to stories I hadn’t heard before, including amazing, miraculous ones in the middle of anathema.

One of the stories (and I can’t remember now which article it was in…) told of a priest who was stopped by a journalist outside the collapsed towers. The priest was asked where God was, how He could’ve allowed it all… The article stated that as the priest placed his hand on this man’s shoulder to comfort him, firefighters exited the building behind them, carrying someone who was injured. And then he assured the reporter that God had nothing to do with the devastation. Pointing to the firefighters and the rescued person, he said that that’s where God was … and is … And the reporter began to weep…

Two hopeful symbols from that day are a cross and a tree. When you have time, you might like to copy and paste these video links from the History Channel into your Web browser. They’re very short pieces that lift my spirit, and I hope they do the same for yours…

Ground Zero Cross
http://www.history.com/videos/ground-zero-cross#ground-zero-cross

Survivor Tree
http://www.history.com/videos/making-the-911-memorial-survivor-tree#making-the-911-memorial-survivor-tree

Finally, I keep coming back to the words of Jesus: “But I tell you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” He wasn’t saying that what they did was right. He wasn’t saying that it’s not okay to be angry, as even He had/has righteous anger. But, in part, maybe He was telling us that to do anything else would infect us, would breed hatred, which would put us on the same level as those who struck us. Love is not always easy, and it’s often not possible in certain situations without His Divine assistance. And neither is forgiveness. But Love and prayer help free us from all remnants of hate, eventually… And His Love is the most powerful weapon, as it has the power to change hearts, even hearts that currently choose evil over good…

Well, I’m no preacher, and I don’t ever mean to sound preachy… It’s just that God’s Love is the only thing I’m positive of in this life… I’m a fellow wanderer, in process, trying to sort out life as I go along, just like you, trying to process this and other events we simply have no adequate words for…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s