Celebrate has always seemed like sort of a perverse way of looking at the events of September 11, 2001, but for the last six years in New York City, Washington DC, and other places around the world, the terrorist hijacking of planes has been cause for us to celebrate; to memorialize; to grieve; to remember. And the most important part of the 9/11 anniversary is that we do indeed remember what happened and all strive to stay vigilant so that it never happens again.
But the events of September 11 have affected us all, all in different ways and there is a reason that this should be approached with different levels of caution in everyone.
To some, there is just nothing to discuss. M.P., an urbanite friend of mine who works in the fashion industry and asked that her name not be used, has always felt a little taboo towards the subject. “I moved here in 2002 and people just didn’t talk about it,” she said to me recently as she’s repeated in the past. “It seems like some people, who I work with, they disappear for a bit around the day, and you pretty much know why. But some people,” she continued, “they just don’t talk about it at all! People who had friends or family die; they don’t even say a word.”
Silence is golden but some act out in diametrically different ways when it comes to the events of September the 11th. Some organizations have spoken out against the accepted facts of the matter; Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, hijackers, jihad; and have created their own hyper-reality which borders on the phantasmagorical. 9/11 Truth one of the loudest voices in the room and while their aims may be noble, they scrape a lot of old wounds that many aren’t comfortable with and offer seldom real answers.
I had spoken with one of their street pamphleteers around the anniversary of 9/11 last year and a lot of the propaganda they were peddling then is the same propaganda they still endorse and solicit today. 9/11 Truth events are being held all over the city and in cities all over the world to try and dispel rumors like the fact that the second tower was detonated rather than fell from the impact of the planes or the fact that Bush & Cheney knew about these events prior to their going down and did nothing. I’m not endorsing the Republican platform and I disagree with a lot of their scare tactics in keeping American troops (and my brother) over in Iraq, in what has been widely dubbed and accepted a ‘sectarian civil war,’ but I think that by stooping down to their level, people on the 9/11 Truth Trail are doing a disservice to everyone who are hoping to get past these painful memories and struggling on their own road to healing.
Many people in New York and people who live alone in particular are clinging to the knock wood philosophy and just want to be left alone with their own private grief. Two friends of mine, Sarah and Eddie, have another shuddering memory of their experience from 9/11: Two California kids who had moved to New York and begun a life; she as an actress and he as a political consultant, had decided to be married; wedding day September 15, 2001 on the west coast. So while they had already returned home to California on 9/9/01 to spend the week preparing in the Pacific time zone for their nuptials, then came the tragic events just a couple of days later. They were obviously crushed as was everyone, but rather than postpone their big day, as many people felt obliged or forced to do, they continued on and they had friends from all over the country hear their battle cry and hone in on their home state, be it by rail, bus, or car; and share in their blessed day. While the events of 9/11 showed them so much love and support from their world of various friends and family members; it also displaced them from the Big Apple, not yet to return.
It may appear a mixed pallet for many, but each year we grow stronger and when we all are able to get through the horrible, saddening, vehement, vexing bag of emotions; each in our own way, we all grow from the experience. We’ll each continue to do so as we all pray for the safety of friends and family in harms way and sort out the signs for some sort of meaning.