Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Remember

I remember September 11. Of course I do.

Have I commemorated September 11? No, I don't think I have.

Or maybe I have. I didn't post, repost, or share any memes on Facebook. I'm not sure that's the way to go. I read articles about the Search and Rescue teams that were there. I looked at pictures of the dogs from those teams who are still alive. I read a book by one of the forensic anthropologists who worked there, for weeks, to identify the dead.

September 11 was not a personal tragedy for me. I was very lucky; I didn't know anybody who died. As an American, it unsettled me, it scared me, it made me wonder how the world would be. It's made air travel horrible. Through war, it's killed a lot more people than those who died on that date. It polarized a presidency, and it was such an affront, such an unspeakable thing, that even now people have a very visceral reaction to its mention. You can still buy the t-shirt, though.

September 11 (which I never call 9/11, by the by. I'm not morally against it; it's just the way my brain settled) is something like my generation's Pearl Harbor, JFK. I can still remember the surreal footage of my life, how I found out, when I first saw those smoking towers against a blue sky, on a small television atop somebody's dorm fridge. It's impossible to forget.

I'm not really sure what factors have to come together to instantly crystallize an imagine in your mind, full sensory, to be played and paused like a film of your life. Some memories are more vivid than others; frequently the bad ones, I think? Is it the adrenaline dump? Is it the certainty of inexorable change?

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