I feel like I should blog something about 9/11, but not quite sure where to begin on a topic that is so close to my heart. It doesn't feel like 10 yrs, to me. It's hard to explain how it feels to me, because I was there. I saw it happen. I felt it happen. I smelled it happen. I heard it happen. I watched as everything around me disappeared in to smoke. I was surrounded by it and that memory is both hard to erase and hard to explain.
Every year, I have loved ones that call me on 9/11, to chat and to check in. I know they mean well, but don't fully understand what this day means to me. I can't make them understand and sometimes, that's difficult to accept. Shortly after 9/11, a relative gave me a 9/11 Tribute book, thinking I'd like it. Then, a year or so later, I was given another book. I admit I flipped through them, though they've never set on my coffee table or seen the bookcase. I think they're on a shelf, somewhere, or in a closet. I've kept them, though I'll never feel the need to read them. A few years ago, I was given a DVD play-by-play of the events of 9/11. I watched it, just once, before sticking it on the shelf with all of our other DVDs. I think I saw myself in there, somewhere. And, then, of course, there are the yearly tributes, which everyone thinks I need to watch. The answer is always, "No...I'm not watching it."
Today, seemingly on schedule, I received my yearly call from a relative. They were watching the live memorial show, aired on a major network. The conversation went something like this:
Relative: "Do you have the tv on?"
Relative: "Are you watching the 9/11 memorial?"
Me: "No. The children are watching a movie."
Relative: "Oh, you should put it on. It's amazing and so sad."
[puts phone to tv]
Relative: "They've been reading names forever and they're only on G."
Me: "There were almost 3000. It's going to take a while."
Relative: "There were 2900 and something. You should really put it on and watch it."
[puts phone to tv, again]
Relative: "Listen to the pretty flute music. It's a wonderful tribute."
Me: "That's okay. I don't need to watch it."
Relative: "You need to watch it, so you won't forget."
The conversation continued and I eventually gave up trying to explain that I don't need to watch a show on tv to remember. I'll never forget. I can't forget. I was there. In fact, I find much of the media attention sickening in the fact that somewhere, someone is making a profit off of such a somber event. I'd rather remember the day in quiet reflection, which is the way I know best to honor the fallen. It will always be a day of remembrance, but I choose to remember it by focusing on those around me and by appreciating how much I have. It's not about how many lives were lost, but that those lives were someone's brother, sister, husband, wife, child... I was lucky to have been merely a witness to the events and not something or someone else. I heard evil whisper in my ear and I saw what it could do, but I never met him in person.
On this day, 10 years after 9/11, I will not watch a tribute on it. I will not read a book on it. I will not turn on the radio and listen to song after song about it. I will not remember it by looking at or hearing about it. I will remember it in the faces of my children. I will remember it in the memories I cherish from my life. I will remember it in family that have passed of natural causes, not having their lives stolen by evil. I will remember it like it happened yesterday, because I can never forget it. On this day, I will hold my family in my heart and hold those things most dear to me in high regard. I will choose not to call everybody and talk about it. Though, I may tell you my story, someday, it will not be today. Because, today, it doesn't matter.
On this day, 10 years after 9/11, I would love to see everyone just step away from the media; step away from all the hatred and conspiracy theories, and computer-generated play-by-plays. I want everyone to walk outside, look around them, smell the flowers, play a game with their children, have lunch with a good friend, and be thankful for the things they have in this world, while remembering those who are not here to enjoy those same luxuries. That, to me, is the teaching of 9/11. To acknowledge that evil is out there, lurking, yet continue to live our lives in all that is good. As a country, we were/are targeted because of our freedoms, so why not embrace them on this day, both to honor the dead and to offer up quiet justice. Choose to watch or listen or read about it. Choose to feel saddened by it, but don't let that sadness fall on those around you. Be free and loving and appreciative, not just today, but everyday. That is how I choose to honor those that lost their lives on 9/11, not because I want to forget, but because I cannot forget.