One of my favorite novels is Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. It’s a gritty story full of flawed characters who continue on their journeys despite mistakes and struggles. Through it all, they are in it together. They don’t always like each others’ choices, but they accept it as part of who they are and realize their friends do the same for them. At least today that’s what I’m pulling from the story.
I can’t do an “I was here doing this on 9/11” post this year. And this is a day after post because I couldn’t do it yesterday. Yesterday I maintained internet silence, in tribute.
The other night my husband and I went to see one of our favorite bands play and they did a tribute song for those who were lost in the attack. Most of the audience didn’t pay much attention. Yesterday when we stopped at the mall briefly to visit Borders on its last day (*sigh*), I saw employees in Steelers shirts – it’s the start of Steeler, ahem football, season after all. What I didn’t see is any thought to the fact that it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I did see a ‘stupid politician’ shirt. *sigh* Yesterday was not the day to wear that.
Very sad. I cringe when I hear people say we need to let it go and move on. Are they serious? Move on, yes. Let it go? No.
I also cringe when I hear people bash our president at the time of the attacks for saying we should “keep shopping” as though he was brushing off the event. No, he was saying we should move on and not let them win. He absolutely didn’t mean let it go.
Much of me today is swamped with the thought that, like the Holocaust, people will before long start claiming 9/11 never happened. Very sad. I’m an optimist. I focus on the positives. I cling to the remembrance of the whole US and our allies supporting each other and ourselves, standing up for who we are and the right to be who we are, flying flags everywhere, sending donations, going to New York and the Pentagon and Shanksville and volunteering time to help with search and cleanup. I do focus on that, and on the fact that yes, we are still here despite the terrorist wishes, we are still functioning as a nation.
However, I will not let it go. I will not let it stop hurting as it did that day and every day after. I will not forget the sight in the photo above that I took as we drove past the Pentagon a few days later, or the face of the wife who lost her husband there as I stood within arms distance of her, or the fear of all of those who felt within harms way of another attack if it was to come.
I will not forget the hate that brought on the vicious attack. I will not forget that many, many of the group that planned this still wish our demise. As it is football season, the following is highly appropriate for both events: The best offense is a good defense.
It is the next day. The sun is bright and warm. We move on with our lives, as we should. Let us hope we can reclaim the feelings of the next day, of togetherness, of determination, of the fighting spirit that made America what it is.
Let’s continue to look forward to our future as well as honoring and remembering our past and how we got where we are. That cannot be forgotten, or we will be lost.
God Bless America and keep it safe and intact.
Since I was an art therapy student, I have to include this link to drawings done by children after 9/11. Really look at them.