The 11th 11th

This year, for the first time, I feel nothing drawing me to go to the World Trade Center on the anniversary of the attacks. Perhaps that’s because, after last year’s anniversary, I went to the finally opened 9/11 memorial, and that was enough for a hundred anniversaries. I feel no need to return to it because it is so big, too big.

Yes, we must remember. That is why I had insisted on returning in years past: so I could remember and give thanks for surviving that day. But the memorial does more than just remember. It closes up the open wound on the city but leaves the scar there. It refuses to let life return to the place where death occurred. Worse, it creates a new fortress of fear with security and scanners around it. Worse yet, one exits that fortress and returns to life through the gift shop.

Since when did we insist that the place where someone died is sacred? We see that idea reflected in the makeshift memorials on highways’ sides or on stoops where someone is gunned down. I understand that reflex. But eventually, the flowers and pictures and candles are swept away and life returns. Memorials are elsewhere: on gravestones and statues and in museums. We build those things for memories.

As far as I am concerned, personally, the flowers and pictures and candles are gone from the World Trade Center. Life is returning. Memories live elsewhere.

  • Yes, we have to move on, and this is not the same as forgetting. Shock fades, rage subsides, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to get through the day after a while. Possibly the memory of 9/11 will fade due to fatigue, and then, as with the WWII anniversaries, it will spring back to vivid life at the big round anniversaries, as the survivors and witnesses near the end of their lives.

    Never forgive, never forget…

  • msbpodcast

    I was literally across the street in Battery Park City when the towers went down.

    I was part of the “Gold Card Homeless,” but that attack still ripped a whole in my sky, another in my heart and left me quite unemployed. (My morning commute used to be 400 feet forward and 81 stories up.)

    I have since moved on, and across the Hudson river, but I will never forget.

    As for forgive… The guy who was responsible was shot in the face… The guys who flew the planes into the buildings made themselves unreachable by doing so. There’s no-one left to hate or to forgive.

    The event is slipping into history, that collection of events that happened incredibly long ago to people you couldn’t possibly meet.