September 11: I remember.
|Photo Credit: Wikicommons: multicoloured candles|
I remember where I was when the first plane hit. I was getting petrol. I was on my way to work, and stopped into a little station in Lawrence Michigan. As I waited in line to pay, for once I was using cash, I looked up to the little television behind her counter.
Everyone in there stopped talking, there must have been half a dozen, it's a busy place first thing in the morning. We just looked at each other. Staring with instantly hollowed eyes.
"What a horrible accident!" We all said. Oh My god, how terrible!
I telephoned home, "Turn on the television! There was an accident, a plane hit the Trade Centre!"
I stayed on the line, listening to my very groggy mother telling me what the guy on MSNBC said, listening with my other ear to NPR. I drove to work.
Just as I got onto the freeway, my mother and the DJ said, in a strange chorus, "No, not another one! They crashed into the other tower!"
I felt all my breath whoosh out. Like I'd been kicked in the belly. All I could think about was those poor people in Manhattan. Their families. Their friends. Those poor people on the planes. What an unimaginable thing!
At least, it was unimaginable to me. I'd been there, I'd seen those buildings. I hate heights, but I love looking up at skyscrapers. They seem to soar into the sky!
I still have my Time and US News and World Report weeklies from that week. I've kept them for my kids. I wanted them to know, even if they were too little (or in one case, not born). I wanted them to know that there was a world before the never-ending wars "against Al-Qaeda"; I wanted them to know that the skyline of New York used to have these two building that were amazing!
Mostly, as time passed and people in the country continued their freak-out against anything perceived as Muslim, the Other, Those People, I wanted my kids to know that not everyone is terrified of Islam.
I have said, and will continue to say: "Some people blame every member of the Islamic faith for the actions of the crazy bastards who did this! We do not. We do not blame anyone for what others did. We forgive, we remember the dead, and we celebrate the living. We do not kill people for what we think they believe. We do not kill! We are better than that!!"
Today, eleven years have passed. Children have been born. People have died.
I remember, I always will. I'll remember the paranoia that started, the fever that overtook my beautiful, open-hearted country, and made it OK with torture and "Pre-emptive strikes" which in my book just means "sucker punching the guy and then stabbing him to death while he's down."
I still think we, as humans are better than that. We don't have to be slaves to ideology, we don't have to hate Some One Else. We don't have to fear the "other" but we ought to embrace them! They are Us. Full Stop. Humans are humans, no matter what we look like, where we were born, or who we call do or don't call God.
Today is a day that will be full of memorials. People posting all over their blogs and Facebooks, and G+'s; Twitter is all a blur with memorials, and all of these "I remember!!!" as though it makes you different. If you were over the age of 10, I'd say you probably remember the attack. You don't know what it meant, you don't know what it's done to the world since, but you probably remember your parents freaking out about the plane toppling the building.
Instead, I'd say let's silently remember where we were on September 10, 2001, and that love we had for everyone. Let's find it again; that inclusion, that rejection of paranoia; that rejection of otherising people who don't look just like you.
Let's find that, again, amidst the remembrances for people lost, and lives cut short. Let's find that again, in the middle of the "moments of silence" and all the flowers.
Let's find our better angels, and hang on to them. Because no one forgets something like 9/11.
It's fucking impossible to forget!
And I don't know that anyone really wants to forget the happening... we want to forget the hateful aftermath. You can't heal if you hate. Believe me, I know.