Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is 9/11 fading from memory after 13 years?

This morning a flag flying at the foot of my driveway reminded me, as if I didn't already know, that this is the anniversary of 9/11. The flag is courtesy Fort Worth South Rotary, through a program I enrolled in, and I was grateful to see it all day.
I found it hard though to recapture the emotion I felt that day thirteen years ago. Every one of us remembers where we were--I was at my desk, with the TODAY show on as background while I worked. Suddenly I was riveted to the TV, though even then I found it hard to wrap my mind around the stark horror of what had happened. Today I grieve intellectually, and I feel emotional when I see interviews with survivors and families of those who died. So many have moved on to do such good in this world--good does indeed come out of evil. But somehow I have distanced myself a bit from it.
One of the most moving things I saw was a 15-year-old Golden Retriever who is believed to be the last surviving rescue dog from that day. Her handler talked us back to the post-tragedy days when they were on duty, and I found myself staring at an incredibly loyal and brave and well-trained dog. I admire both dog and handler.
A friend, whose husband is teaching in Hungary, said that over there the day is nothing special. It carries none of the emotional impact it does for us in the U.S. Last year, when she taught freshmen in this country, few had any memories of the day, and she surmised that it is becoming like December 7, a day of infamy that lives in the minds of our parents and grandparents but is rapidly forgotten by younger generations. A colleague, a fellow historian, answered that is the way of history and maybe it's a good thing, it's human beings movin' on. But there's also something very sad about it.
I would agree, but I also agree with all those posts on Facebook today that said, "Never forget." Today we face more threats--who knows if they will reach our shores or not, but who expected Al Qaeda to touch us in such a catastrophic way? I, the liberal peace-monger, think it's important to teach younger generations what these days mean in our history, lest they fade into total obscurity. They remain object lessons for us, lessons again complacency that are hard to balance against a desire for peace.
When we came home from school Jacob asked about the flag in my driveway. "Do you know what day today is?" I asked. He didn't, and I explained. He didn't seem remarkably impressed, but I'm not sure an eight-year-old can grasp the enormity of what happened on 9/11. I'll keep reminding him.


JM Kelley said...

I tend to get emotional every 9/11. It was such a painful day and those old feelings still resonate. I decided to blog today when I was having one of those emotional moments, and it was roundly ignored by my entire list of followers. However, a later post about a man trying to hit on me online was a rousing success. Not that I think my words were very important, but sometimes I think we are slaves to the shallow. I just think it's important to give the people who died on 9/11/01 some remembrance on the anniversary date. I wish it were still a commonly held belief. It appears not to be so anymore.

Judy Alter said...

I agree about the importance of paying tribute to those who died. Some of us still pay tribute on Dec. 7 too (No, I'm not that old that I remember that day--but I remember my parents' stories.) I was puzzled that I didn't feel as emotional as I did in earlier years.
Yes, we are slaves to the shallow and a good laugh.