Remembering.

11 Sep

I have stayed away from most tv, radio, and internet news today, and I hesitated even to write a post. I have always been conflicted about how to pass this anniversary each year. Part of me feels that this day doesn’t belong to me–I’d only been a New Yorker for one week on 9/11/01, and I didn’t have any loved ones in or near the World Trade towers that day. But another part knows that this day belongs to all of us, because our view of the world as a city, a country, and as human beings changed ten years ago.

And one of the things that I learned on 9/11 was that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in this city for your whole life, for months, or for only hours–if you are here in a moment in which we all need each other, you are a New Yorker, and every other New Yorker is a person you can lean on.

Today, instead of sitting in front of my tv, I lived. I had brunch with friends I’ve known since college. Two of whom have two-year-olds. I got a picture of my 7-week-old nephew in a Steelers jersey and showed him off to everyone. I watched the “Isaac & Ishmael” episode of The West Wing. I did a little work.

And what I keep coming back to is watching my friends’ kids, and my nephew, whose entire lives will be lived in a post-9/11 world, and what else they might see. This is, I imagine, something every generation feels as they watch a new one being born. And so I am glad that what I do is help to give these children stories. Because we need stories to survive. Stories about first days of school, and friends, and families, and losing a first tooth. Stories about fear and courage, loyalty, and discovering who we are. Stories that show us experiences different from our own and ideas that widen our perceptions. Stories that show us we aren’t alone.

As Josh said in the West Wing episode (and come on, who could say anything better than Josh Lyman/Aaron Sorkin?): “Learn things, be good to each other. Read the newspapers, go to the movies, go to a party, read a book. In the meantime, remember pluralism. You want to get these people? You really want to reach in and kill them where they live? Keep accepting more than one idea.”

I think as long as we have stories and each other, we’re going to be okay.

 

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3 Responses to “Remembering.”

  1. Rachel Seigel (@rachelnseigel) September 11, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    You are an excellent blogger! Beautiful post. I am a New Yorker by birth, and my mom still makes New York her home part of the year. It is, as you say, always amazing to think of all the things each new generation grow up with that we didn’t, but hopefully one thing will remain constant- and that’s the power of stories to not only heal and enlighten, but to inspire.

  2. Amanda September 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    My email account is eleven years old. So while I also avoided the news today, I did look back to see what my 21 year old self had to say about things. Ten years ago, I also used Aaron Sorkin to help out my description, which is sort of funny. “Look at what we can do”, twisted in a sad and incredulous way from the Sports Night episode “The Quality of Mercy at 29k”. But part of the response I got was ” I kept thinking the date today… september 11, september 11. ’cause they’re going to be talking about it for the rest of our lives. yesterday we had one life and today and tomorrow and every day from here on out we might have a completely different one.”

    It really just astounds me that I can remember most of the minutes in a whole day ten years ago, down to having a head cold and reading a funny article in the student newspaper about one-ply TP. I hope the next time I can remember all the minutes in a day, I have a better reason.

  3. dandimackall September 14, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Martha, I don’t know if you even remember me from our teaching time at BYU conference, but I thought of you today and happened onto your blog. Your account of 9/11 is wise and wonderful. I’ll be visiting your blog regularly. Can’t imagine how you find time to write it…but I’m so glad you do. Hope we meet again soon.
    Dandi
    Dandi Daley Mackall http://www.dandibooks.com; http://www.silenceofmurder.com

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