Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day to Never Forget

As someone who writes about grief, there has been one enormous grief that I have intentionally stayed away from, that of September 11th, 2001.  Today marks the 10th anniversary of that tragic day.  It is a day that has become a part of our global history.  The television, radio and Internet sites are reminding us that today is a day to remember.  Today we will honour those people who lost there lives and be thankful for the bravery of those who perished in their attempts to minimize the casualties.
My hope is that today is not simply represented by images meant to engage us in reliving the devastation of that day. Rather, it should remind us that today altered the course of people's lives.  It changed individuals and families, so that they were no longer who they used to be.   It took away their notion of "normal" and forced them to establish a new identity without their loved one.
I have had the honour and privilege of talking with people who experienced the death of a family member on September 11th.  They shared the complexity of a national grief that surrounded them while they struggled to cope with their daily personal griefs that could not possibly be shared. I came to the realization that while my fears were realized for a day, their fears would be recognized day in and day out.  While we take the time to remember on every anniversary of September 11th, there are the loved ones of the dead who have never forgotten for one moment of any day.  In fact, as a global community represented by the media, we are telling these grievers how significant it is to be at the 10 year anniversary, I am sure if we listened, we could hear them say "oh, I know."
Today I am lost in thinking how my life went on after the media coverage died down 10 years ago.  I, like everyone else, watched the television as it replayed the implosion of a nation's sanctity and robbed the world of our communal naivité.
Like the world, I was impacted by the increased airport security and the nervous tension as a war between nation's began.  I am acutely aware today, that unlike so many, I hugged my family that day, I called my friends on the phone and I slept that night because for me and many others around the world, it was only a part of my lived experience.
Instead of saying that I remember today, I will make a promise to those in my life that I will do more not to forget.  I will honour those lives by embracing my family and reminding them that they are loved and I will remind myself how very lucky I am to have that privilege.

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