Twenty Years

 I thought about writing a long remembrance of that horrible day, a walk-through of the weird mix of terror and business-as-usual that played out in the office where I was working at the time. I just…don’t want to do that.

I remember that for several days after I tried listening to music, and I just…couldn’t. It took, I think, until Friday when I was finally ready to listen to something. I chose one of the most emotional pieces of music I know, a work I played in my freshman year of college. It seemed, in terms of mood and title, appropriate: Elegy, by composer Mark Camphouse.

It was the saddest day I can remember as an American, and it’s even sadder now in retrospect as we went forth from that day and proceeded to learn all the wrong lessons and undertake all the wrong responses.

We went to New York City in 2015 for Thanksgiving, and we did go to “Ground Zero”. We weren’t there long, but we did want to see the place where this thing happened. It was a damp, cloudy, cold day…and for the location, somehow very beautiful.

There is always beauty to be found, eventually. I wish America would remember that more. Americans, myself included, are too quick to respond with anger and rage to the ugliness of the world.

I eventually wrote a short story in response to the emotions I was feeling at the time, called “The City of Dead Works”, and I used to post it annually here. I don’t do that anymore, but you can read it here. And please do read Sheila O’Malley’s post about one life that was lost that day.

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3 Responses to Twenty Years

  1. Annehueser says:

    I too have struggled with what to do today. My memories are clear of that day as they are for so many others. But the moment that stands out to me these days is a colleague stopping by my desk late that morning and observing that he was surprised martial law had not yet been imposed. The events in our country this year (and last) make me sad for our country but as today approached I realized that my sadness started that day as our country at nearly every opportunity made the wrong choice as to which way to go. Our recent past is a result of our more distant past. This makes me both sad and angry but I cannot spend more time than I already do being angry and sad. So today I immerse myself in things that are far from news.

    I have read both your story and Sheila O'Malleys post several times and they are both so moving. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Roger Owen Green says:

    I punted for today. I found a survey my daughter asked me when she was in 7th grade. I've written about 9/11 so often that I really had nothing.
    BTW, this post I linked to for my linkage post on 9/15, because… whereas your Star Trek III I won't link to until the EOM because it's not time-sensitive. I KNEW you needed to know that.

  3. fillyjonk says:

    My struggle today is realizing that I know more people who died of COVID than who died in the towers. And that we seem to just….be tolerating….frighteningly massive death tolls due to it. Yes, I know a virus – which I guess is closer to a natural disaster like a hurricane – is not the same as a human choosing to do evil, but…I didn't want to thing about the anniversary today when I am still mired in the masking up and rarely going out(because I don't want a breakthrough infection, and masking and vaccine uptake are poor here) and remembering 9/11 feels like too much.

    I said elsewhere I was glad this was a Saturday; I don't know that my 18-20 year old college students would have asked me my memories of the day but if they had? it would have been hard.

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