A week ago, there was lots of attention payed to the September Eleventh attacks, the victims, the survivors, the attackers, the heros. I've spent the past two weeks or so feeling a lot about those attacks. It feels like the anniversary has passed, and life should resume. But a part of me remembers that when anniversaries of loss come around, the loss remains potent for much longer than a day.
When the planes hit the towers, I was in second grade. I remember driving to school, and hearing on the radio that there was a plane crash and people died. My reaction was "yeah, so?" I was accustomed to fatal accidents. I'd been flying since I was little, and to a 3 or 4 or 5 year old, plane turbulence feels a lot like a car rolling over. In my little head, fatal plane crashes happened as often as fatal car crashes, which were common enough to have affected me.
I didn't understand the tragedy until I was in New York last spring and went to the temporary museum. That museum broke my heart, not because of the thousands of people that died, but for the many more thousands of people who lost someone they loved. Those people who would go on doing the dishes and going to school in spite of the pain that wracked their hearts.
One of the most interesting parts of "the anniversary" for me was Ira Glass' interviews with people who lost those they loved in the attack. Marian Fontana's comment was that the theme is " "never forget", but to heal, you have to forget." I guess she's right. Who is the rest of the world to bring up her tragedy and pain and loss as if it is our own?
We've been reading 9/11 poems in my English to kick off our poetry unit. Here's one of my favorites:
"8:48" by Iris Schwartz