Stop picking at 9/11?

It came up on Facebook that some think we fuss way too much about the anniversary of 9/11 when it happened so long ago. I mean, it’s been over ten years, so we should be past it. The reference was to “picking a scab.”

I put a brand new flag up on our pole this morning. It’s really a lightweight banner; so light, in fact, it floated in the wispy breeze like a kite. As I attached it to the pole and watched it billow so beautifully, I thought back to that morning when my whole body reacted to the traumatic shock of watching this unimaginable horror unfold on TV. Heart squeezed by an unknown fist, body tensed as from a chill in the air, the tears that just fell out. And how I wanted to DO something to show my support for my country and the people suffering at the sites. Standing there watching with my mouth open was not enough. And so I put up our flag. It was all I could think to do.

Then there was the post-traumatic stress that came from reading and watching too much news, reliving too much over and over through the scenes on television. Maybe that’s what people mean when they say “picking the scab.” Now, eleven years after it’s over, we’re supposed to be healed by now, leave it alone, why relive such a terrible event, why make yourself hurt again?

I would argue that history is worth remembering, good or bad, and this is BIG history in the U.S. America was attacked in a spectacular way on its own soil. It was an affront to the entire country and taught us an ocean is not enough to keep our enemies away. But memories and intense feelings fade, just as they have for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A generation passes and dust settles into corners. Thank goodness for the newspapers on file and the memoirs written since that will keep the full intensity of the event from disappearing into complacent forgetfulness.

This eleventh year after, the 9/11 ceremonies were toned way down, if they happened at all. Politicians were not welcome at the official New York remembrance to allow the focus to be on the families who will never stop grieving. I didn’t see anything in our local news about official ceremonies in our city or its close suburbs even though a few families did lose someone in the destruction. A few small gatherings were across the river in Illinois. News media stepped in to help us all remember.

I want to remember because I think we owe it to the people who died and the survivors still affected. The number of people who died might be small compared to genocides and current mass atrocities overseas, but they are ours and 9/11 is ours. Our people and our land. The least we can do is give a moment of silence, a thought in our day. Remembering the scab and what it means, not picking at it.

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About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), and cats
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3 Responses to Stop picking at 9/11?

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Beautiful post, Linda. I know that some people believe it’s time to let it go, but I think it’s something important for us to always remember, not only for the victims and their families, but to remember how fragile life is.

  2. We shouldn’t forget, respecting those who died and their families is healthy, it’s right. Many dreadful events happen over the years and burying them does not make them ‘gone’. Thank you.

  3. Yes, a Jewish friend read this and told me she is afraid the Holocaust will be forgotten as the survivor generation passes away and people begin to think it’s old news. It’s true that life goes on and those who haven’t directly suffered loss will forget, but that’s why we need physical memorial structures and remembrance days. We are all part of the big picture. Jan, I loved your “Final Thoughts” post on 9/11 and shared it around. Here’s the link for those who want to pop over to Jan’s blog: http://janmorrill.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/final-thoughts-2/

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