This is the post I wrote on the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11. While I try not to repeat posts too often, my thoughts of the day haven’t changed very much in the subsequent two years (maybe they’ve intensified on the latter portion of the post). You might also know I don’t bring political discussions onto the screed either. I broke that rule too. Anyway, I’m posting it again with a couple of minor edits.
I’m publishing this on 9/11, 10 years after a horrible day changed the world forever. I’ve spent a good part of the day thinking about the subsequent decade and how it was so very different from the 4 others in which I’ve lived that preceded it and I want to use today to share some of those thoughts. I also know we don’t do politics here – I think today we will, although hopefully in a non-partisan way. So here are a few things I remember most about 9/11/01.
First, how beautiful the weather was that day. My commute brought me into Grand Central Station and as I walked into the sunlight and smelled the air with the smallest traces of Fall in it, I thought about how the weeks after Labor day are the best time to come to NYC. I now think about 9/11 every time it’s a really nice day.
I also thought how nice a day it was going to be for flying. A few work colleagues and I were going to San Francisco that afternoon out of Newark. We were originally going out on a morning flight but realized our meetings were later the next day so we changed flights a week earlier. Spooky.
Finally, the main thing I recall about 9/11 was 9/12. And 9/13. And many days thereafter. It was about how for one of the few times in my life, the entire country came together as one. No Democrats, no Republicans – Americans. I felt it in the emails and calls I received from concerned folks from all around the country and from other countries. As a New Yorker, you saw it in all the folks who came to help from all over.
That all changed later and was, in retrospect, probably only a Band-Aid on some wounds that began to fester some time in the 90’s. But MAN, it felt good.
That’s what struck me today – how those wounds have turned gangrenous and how utterly incapable we as a people seem to sit together and discuss how to clean up the economic and social messes around us, much as we cleaned up that other mess 10 years ago. The memorials today showed me that we still have the ability to unite in a common good under a flag, but only if we stop yelling, start listening, and try to feel what we all felt after the unspeakable horror of that day: that we have to find a way to clean this up and fix this. Not as Democrats or Republicans – as Americans.