First I thought, well, I’m not really going to talk about it. Maybe a small acknowledgment somewhere. Not that it’s not a significant day. It is. It’s just — well, I’m not looking to bring anybody down on this site. And part of me thinks, “Yes, we get it, it happened. It’s time to move on.”
And that may be true.
Except, move on needs to be move up — we need to ease away from the terrors of that day and become elevated, ascended, try to view the lessons learned that day in the proper light.
The problem is, we haven’t done this. We’ve drifted away, yes, but like a balloon losing its buoyancy we’re sinking further and further. It feels like the world (or at least our country) is somehow less enlightened, less together than it was on that day — the kind of day where I personally would’ve predicted we’d be at each other’s throats, where we’d be on the brink of personal, political and spiritual destruction.
But, it’s been nine years, and we didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt: all we have is divisive politics and pretend wars with pretend motives and cranky bitch-ass anti-Christian “Christian” pastors threatening to burn someone else’s holy book as if all Muslims got together on some secret Mohammedian wavelength that day and concentrated really really hard in order to attack the United States and/or Israel.
It’s as if we’ve somehow forgotten that “Muslim” doesn’t mean “extremist whackaloon.”
It’s as this graphic doesn’t even matter:
Which is very sad.
If we’ve fallen prey to such divisiveness, it starts to feel like that crazy fucked-up minority of fundamentalist terrorists actually did the job they set out to do. They weren’t hoping that we’d die from that one wound on that one day. They were hoping we’d succumb to the septic infection that lingered in our bodies, or the cancer that settled into the bellies of our cells, a cancer made of something terrible.
Hey, fuck that right in the ear.
You know what?
On that morning, the morning when those two planes hit those towers, we were all eerily linked together. Was the first time in a long time the country felt like it was bonded by the glue of community.
So, you know what? Do me a favor. If you feel like it, hop on down into the comments, tell me what you were doing on that morning. Everybody, I find, remembers that morning. This is our generation’s JFK moment, after all — “Where were you when the president was shot?” has become, “Where were you when the plane hit the first tower?” We are all held fast by that event. We were all on the same team that morning.
Me, I was driving to work.
I was listening to Howard Stern on FM. They interrupted the broadcast to start talking about this plane that had hit the first tower, and at first it was thought to be just some weird coincidence, some terrible but accidental disaster. But by the time I got to work and drove into town, they were already asking: “Was this an attack?” And then the second plane hit.
And as I drove into and then walked through town, I could see the whole thing unfold around me — it was a cool morning, but people were opening their windows and looking out. Some were yelling to other open windows. Some cars just pulled over to park and listen. People on the street hurried over to other people, to other strangers, something you never really see except in times of deep crisis. They were like lone cells joining together, molecules finding one another in order to form a more stable and certain substance. You could feel the event wash over the town that way.
Everybody wanted to connected. They wanted to ask each other: “What’s happening? Did you hear?” They wanted to find meaning and commiseration and community. They didn’t just want it. They needed it.
It was strange to watch.
But very, very powerful.
Where were you?