It is September 11, years after the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and the attempted attack on the White House, but it is, and always will be, fresh in the minds of any of us who were old enough to watch these events unfold in front of our eyes on the morning news shows that day. And we will make sure Americans who were not born have those same images implanted in their minds. We will never forget.
Perhaps we have changed. We may have left to others that race to raise skyscrapers higher and higher into the skies. Perhaps we don’t need that phallic braggadocio any more. Perhaps we are learning to be less brash, a bit more understated, more like our old and true allies in the UK. That is just a change that speaks to a greater maturity that arises from knowing sorrow and loss.
We may have lost a bit of our confidence but I don’t think so. I think our confidence is just tempered with the lessons we have learned about offering less hubris to the world and more compassion and perhaps the wisdom to refrain from well-meaning intervention without full apprehension of the possible outcomes. Our strength has been tested and it is more real, less hasty, more considered, less reactionary. We have always valued every life lost in defense of our Democracy, but I think we value life even more now.
Silence is the perfect way to mark this occasion. One of the things I will always remember most is that in the days following the September 11th attacks our skies, which usually roar with airplanes coming and going all day, were silent. We went backwards in time for a while to when it took longer to travel from one place to another, to a time when people left their homes infrequently and with greater trepidation than we do today. That silence, especially since my home was near an airport, was eerie and apocalyptic. Even the 174th jets were absent from our skies because they were patrolling New York City.
So each year with silence we remember a silence that New Yorkers probably did not experience. I doubt that NYC knew much silence on 9/11. It doesn’t matter how you remember, just remember.
By Nancy Brisson