Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 a Day to Live in Infamy

Today we mark the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and passenger takeover of the fourth plane that went down in Pennsylvania. I think it is an interesting and slightly morbid ritual to continually mark anniversaries of devastating events such as terrorist attacks. Having been in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, I can honestly remark on this as one who does remember an anniversary of a devastating disaster, just not the way the media does.

After the April 19th bombing of the Murrah Building, life changed for many people in Oklahoma. It was rare to find someone who lived in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area who did not know someone who worked in that building. Most people knew someone who died in the building. Every year, at least on Oklahoma City television stations, there is a memorial service where there is a time of silence, speeches, etc. There is nothing wrong with this, and I believe that in a certain way it is helpful to remember such events in history.

However, I remember the first year I didn't wake up and say, "Oh God, it's April 19th." There was something freeing about waking up like it was any other day of the year, going about happy business of getting kids to school and getting off to work, and then at a later point in the day go, "Oh yeah, it's April 19th." It was as if shackles of gripping fear were removed from my heart and soul.

That is my prayer for those who stop and remember 9/11 from a close and personal distance. Those who were in the immediate area of the attacks, those who lost a loved one or friend in the atttacks, and those who had their understanding of safety and security shaken to its very core because of these attacks.

My prayer for the rest of the country and the world who of course mourn with those people is that they will allow these people to heal in peace. We who watched this on television from another state should not make this about us. It is not about our understanding of these events from a safe and comfortable distance. I think, while never forgetting, it is okay to let these events dwindle to only a blurb on the news, at least until it can safely rest in the history books to be remembered as Pearl Harbor is now a devastating event that once happened to us, that we can learn from and grieve over, but not as a media circus that requires lights, cameras and lots of action.

I know this may not be popular with some, and I am not really trying to stir up any arguments. I just want people to know that if you weren't there, while you do feel for those people, and may even take it personally as an American, it isn't the same memories as it is for those who felt the ground move and held out hope during the rescue efforts until at last your worst fears are confirmed. They need to have a year when they wake up and the first thought on their mind isn't, "Oh God, it's September 11th."

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