Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

September 11th will be for my generation a day like the one on which JFK was shot. A day we will ask each other every year, “Where were you when…?” . I was home with my five-week-old son and 2 ½ year old daughter, still getting my feet back under me after giving birth. When I got up at about 7:30 a.m., my husband told me, “A plane hit the World Trade Center. I heard it on Howard Stern.”

That week we all ran the gamut of emotions. Shock. Fear. Great grief. Relief that there weren’t more people killed. Unity. Pride. On Friday we had a church service and I sang “Let there be Peace On Earth.” I can’t sing it anymore without crying. Friday night, we all went out on the corner of our street and waved flags at the honking cars going by. We were Americans. We were hit, we were down, but we were not out.

It’s hard to believe that our own government has made us relinquish everything we were proud of that day. Our freedoms, our values, our unity. It’s hard to believe that we let them. Why couldn’t they tell us, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself?” Why did they have to make us fear more and more? Fear our neighbors and strangers and airplanes flying overhead and loud noises. I know I held onto my fear of airplanes in the sky for quite a while.

There are a lot of things to rail against about our current government. And I rail about them all the time. But the thing that makes me saddest is that we are no longer the America that we were. We are no longer the America that we could have been. We seem to have given it up in this orgasm of fear. Released our very essence into the void, creating what? Perhaps we can harvest the stem cells of this particular blastocyst to some constructive end. But only if we can destroy the embryo in the process. And this embryo must go, this new America, this tyranny. Somehow implant the new healing cells into the old body and kill the cancer that grows there.

I wish I could feel that warm unifying pride that we felt that week. I wish I could hug my dear neighbor who went to her last church service that Friday with us and soon after passed away. I wish that they would stop telling me how scared I should be and do something about the things that should scare them: port security, uninspected containers, unsecured power plants, dependence on foreign oil and Chinese credit. I wish we could go back, but we must instead go forward and grow into a new America that we can be proud of.

And remember.


Blogger joyfossil said...

On the other hand (and life turns out to be that hindu goddess with many hands...) If we give up, if we give in to the fear, the hate, then they win. If we mourn but do not keep even the tiniest bit of the flame of hope in our hearts they win.

I say let them try to make me forget, let them try to make me hate so much that I become as they are, just let them try - they will find that I am not them. I believe in the good, I believe that hate is not the answer, nor is dispair.

Lately every time I close my eyes I see a plane hitting the city of my birth... I see my city, the dream of my childhood in ruins, choked, burning, bleeding and weeping. It is imbedded on the backs of my eyelids. It's like I was there, but I wasn't there - I was here.

Indeed, it will be for us, one of those moments that we will never forget. The one thing I remember being baffled by at the time was the way the season dissapeared. One day it was late summer and the next time I surfaced it was Halloween - did we hold our breath for that long?

Back to what you said, while we will never again be the America we were in the early mornign of 9/11/01, I don't think we are no longer the America that we were the evening of 9/11/01, we are just tireder. We have seen that our leaders are mere mortal men. we are battle weary. You know that point when you are cleaning a room where you are really like 3/4 of the way done but you are tired and everything is cattywompus and it seems like you will never, ever get done... that's where we are, 3/4 of the way done and everything is cattywompus.

It's been a sad, sad day.

Rant on, MacDuff...


1:40 AM  
Blogger sopranospinner said...

Nice writing!

But rather than 3/4 of the way done, I feel like there is someone coming behind me destroying everything good. There is someone in my own house taking everything I love and turning it to sh*t. That person must go.

I'm going back to knitting content for a while. My own blog is depressing me. The sweater is done and I'm trying to get the hem to lay flat by 11 a.m. What are the odds?

Nice to see you last night! Wish I could have gone out after...

7:22 AM  

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