I was going to post this yesterday, but never got around to finishing...
I did something yesterday morning that I didn't expect. I watched the 9/11 tribute, and well, it made me cry. I didn't expect it because I've been kind of viewing the hoopla surrounding the 10 year anniversary with a certain level of cynicism. Should it be remembered? Absolutely, and not just on anniversaries that end in a zero. But the media event that arises around these profoundly tragic and deeply personal tragedies always feels a bit, well, exploitive. There's always been a strong need to talk about that day to try to make sense of the senseless. And it was senseless. I had no direct connection to the day, but can remember just about everything about it including the deep sadness I felt. What I'm more interested about 10 years later is how the history books are talking about it. What will Scout learn about 9/11? A history lesson certainly can't capture the emotional rawness of the day.
Like just about everybody, I remember where I was. I was thinking about this over the weekend and trying to understand why we remember or why we feel this great need to explain to the world where we were on that day. I'm still not sure why it matters. I was living in a teeny tiny studio apartment and was getting ready to walk to school (I had just started law school). Like most mornings, I had turned on Good Morning America for background noise. After the first plane hit (though at the time there was confusion, we knew there was a fire and that allegedly a plane of unknown size had hit), I called my dad. We were on the phone as we watched the second plane hit. In my naivete, I wanted to believe it was some kind of horrible accident. I staggered off to school not knowing what was going on. We had classes that day, sort of. In between, we gathered in the faculty library and the auditorium to watch the coverage: the buildings collapsing, the terror, the speechless punditry. I remember the news teams were taking calls from everyone from novelists and Henry Kissinger and anyone else who could fill the background of the cloudy scenes with speculation. This was before smart phones and texting, and as new college graduates almost everyone knew someone who had headed to New York for their first job. Rykert was living in Auburn, Alabama at the time, and was scheduled to fly up for a visit a day or two later. He drove instead. I remember being overly exposed as I was glued to the news coverage for days. Until I just turned it off.
I reflected on the 5 year anniversary here.