I had intended not to post anything today, or if I did post anything today, I intended not to mention the Anniversary of the Big Event.
It’s not that I have a problem with people remembering. It was something that affected each and every one of us, and my cynicism over how that event has been exploited for political and commercial gain doesn’t change the fact that very real people are experiencing very real emotions today. I’m not immune. I won’t ever forget that day. But I won’t let it define my life. I can’t. If we let this tragedy define us, then we’ve allowed the bad guys to accomplish something, and I guess I’m just too stubborn to give in to that.
On the other hand, a moment of honest reflection is worthwhile. So I offer you three things, in memory of all we lost, and all we gained.
- Brooklyn humorist ZeFrank turned serious on The Show Thursday:
So in the last week, President Bush has called on Americans to use the five-year anniversary of September 11th as a chance to recall the unity that we felt in its aftermath. It was a pretty amazing unity. We were certainly bonded together by fear but also by a kind of hopefulness. It was a hopefulness from the experience of the amazing strength that we have when we decide to help each other.
That unity was not about the government. It was a shared determination among us to make things better. The President seems to think that “unity” implies supporting him and his policies. In my personal opinion, the President has no right to attach himself to that part of our experience. He already had his shot. While every other aspect of 9/11 is defiled this Monday, let us at least keep intact the memory of what that unity meant to us.
- Seen several places on my friends list, 5tephe gives us a suggestion for what we can do today:
I heard a lady on the radio this morning with the best Idea ever.
Go out today and do something tangible, that makes the world better.
Visit someone in hospital, give blood, make a $5 donation to a charity, bake a cake for a neighbour, fix up that hole in your mother-in-law’s fence, write a letter of congratulation to a Nobel peace prise winner, hand in that umbrella to lost and found, pick up litter outside your work, drop off a bundle of tinned food to the local homeless refuge, scrub off some graffiti from a wall, change the light bulb in the hall of your block of flats, sweep off the sidewalk outside your house and clean out the gutter, help Mrs Johnson across the road to carry her groceries in.
Just go out and do something. Make sure it is physical, tangible. Make the world a better place in some way. Help someone. Help each other. Make today not about the death, and destruction, and violence, and intolerance, but about the gift that you can make, yourself, right now.
Change the world.
Pass this idea around folks. Link to my little spiel, or copy it into your own journal. Then make a comment (and encourage others to, also) letting each other know what it was you did today.
- John Ford’s poem, 110 Stories, is still the best piece of creative art I’ve seen come out of these events.
Some nights I still can see them, like a ghost.
King Kong was right about the Empire State.
I’d rather not hear what you’ll miss the most.
A taller building? Maybe. I can wait.
I hugged the stranger sitting next to me.
So this is what you call a second chance.
One turn aside, into eternity.
This is New York. We’ll find a place to dance.
In closing, while remembering the events of this day, remember also this: we were hurt, but we were not destroyed. We are still one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, if we want it to be. And when someone tells you that we must give those ideals up in order to be safe, remember this day well. And tell them no.