Monday, September 12, 2011

How we Remember

9/11 means a different thing for every single person.

Some people choose to use the day to remember the heroes of the homeland who fought to save lives at great risk to their own.  Some people choose to use the day to remember how vulnerable our country is.  Some people choose to use the day to remember that there are crazy nut-job people in every corner of the earth, in every culture, and in every religion. 

The LEAST we can do is provide healthcare for them.

But I think the unfortunate thing about this is that the majority of people only remember these things on 9/11.  They need a holiday to remind them that there are both heroes and nut-jobs everywhere, and that our country has a giant scar across its face that will likely never heal.

What's the difference between two months ago and today?  Two months ago, no one was even mentioning 9/11.  For the most part - people were mostly just going about their day, chatting with their neighbors about Kim Kardashian's wedding and did Jada cheat on Will and other similarly ridiculous things.  Today, people are posting on Facebook about how they'll "Never Forget".  Two months from now, it will again be back to trivial distractions.

I think it's a bit silly.  If you're going to remember the tragic events, remember the tragic events. Carry it with you every single day.  Of course, don't dwell on it, but don't let that memory sit untouched for 10 years only to resurface with phony tributes in your Facebook status.

I was walking with my wife yesterday to the playground so that Sammy could get his swing on (he loves the swings).  We noticed how uncharacteristically dead quiet the playground was, and commented on how it was likely because most people were observing 9/11 in some way or another.  I told my wife how fake I thought it was, and just like every other time we discuss something - she told me I was stupid.

She told me about the Russian Orthodox tradition, where people who lose a family member will set a place setting (complete with shot glass) out for them at the table for the 9 days (or 40 days, I wasn't really listening, and she definitely said the number 40 about something) after their death to commemorate their passing.  Then one year after their passing, they will put a memorial stone on their grave, and every year on the anniversary of their passing, they will light a candle.

Apparently, after a quick Google search, this is not an uncommon practice.

But the way I see it is: what's so special about that day?  Don't you carry the memory of that person with you every minute of every day?  Their death is no more or less significant to you one year later than it is ten years and three months.  It's a tragedy, simple as that.  And it always will be a tragedy.

So for me, when that fateful time comes, I plan on not doing anything special to commemorate.  I'll just keep it in my back pocket, carrying it with me always.  Same as what I do with 9/11.


  1. The Greeks do something similar - put out a plate for 9 days, have a memorial at 40, and then at 6 months, and then every year.

    Not a day goes by that I don't think about 9/11...but, fortunately, the only real change about me is that I make sure I say "I love you" to those around me a whole lot more.

  2. I tend to agree with you. I sometimes feel that the ultra - patriotic stuff is a bit suspect. Even after 9/11, all the American flags flying off every house and every car bothered me a bit. As a military man, my husband went to the Middle East at the start of the Iraq war. But we did not wave flags about it. 9/11 was one of many terribly tragic events in history. There are many.


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