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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
11th of September

Which, I believe, should be the name of the day. Or 9/11. Patriot Day - maybe Todd Beamer, etal. on Flight 93, in their astounding act of heroism, were being patriots. The fireman and policemen and rescue workers in New York, and those who came from elsewhere to help - they were being *human*. They were showing the best side of being human after being shown the worst. But they weren't doing it to be patriotic. They were doing it because it was what they did.

And we will not speak of those who hijacked those planes and turned those innocent souls into weapons.

My memories of the day. I feel kinda *odd*. I'm a New Yorker. I spent the day a mile away from the attacks, safely in my office. I didn't pass out water. I did let people use the office phones and bathroom - we're storefront, so people could just walk in.

I didn't see anything. I didn't hear anything. I got my information from the web and radio and TV. I wasn't even awake when the first plane hit. I didn't watch the towers fall.

And I'm glad of all of that. I've seen the videos too many times. I spent the day on IRC, chatting and trying to be calm, and connecting, and making sure the people I knew were all right, and saying psalms because there's nothing else I could have done. Not right then.

It didn't really hit home for me until the next night. Jonathan and I had gone to a favorite restaurant for dinner, one that took us on the F-line, and on the elevated tracks. One of the nice parts of the elevated station on 18th Ave, where the restaurant is, is the view of lower Manhattan.

And instead of the two towers we were used to, there was a great plume of smoke, and that smoke was blowing directly over Park Slope, where we lived at the time. And all I could think was, "There are souls up there." Not all of them Americans (another thing that makes the name "Patriot Day" a joke), but all of them *people* with family and friends and people who loved them.

The fires burned for months afterwards.

There's a hole in our sky.

And mostly, I'm still angry at the men who murdered so many people at once.


I drove past the burning pentagon every day for a week. I drove past the hole in the side of the building everyday for a year.

And I answered the work phones for 2 months, because our receptionist's fiancee was killed in the Pentagon.

I'm pissed. I think I have a right to be reasonably pissed.

But mostly, I'm just grateful. Grateful that the plane hit the pentagon, not the white house, where the damage would have spread father. Grateful that in essence, it wasn't me. I was here and it wasn't me.

I feel sorrow for the dead and their families. It's been two years. Let this be the last major aniversary. Because to give something a name "Patriot Day" implies that you will be buried with grief and anger over the events indefinately.

And it's about to be time to move past that. I don't intend to spend every Sept. 11 for the next 50 years listening to speeches, and flag waving jingoism. Remember the dead, respect them, and mourn them.

Don't use it as a way to make policy points. What happens when the next one comes? Because I'm fairly certain that at some point in the future, something else will blow up. Or something will happen. Until we are stuck with every day as the commemoration of some disaster.

I tried to write something about today...wasn't sure why I felt I needed to, but you hit the nail on the head for me. Thank you for sharing your words.

I agree about the "Patriot Day" thing. It's vaguely nauseating to think that W is trying to use the tragedy of 9/11 to push his particular flavor of jingoism. And I can't even pretend I don't know about the 'declaration', because I work for the Federal Gov't, and the Director of my agency keeps sending us little notes about "observing Patriot Day" and so on. (I just got the second one now.)

I will probably light a candle tonight, and say a prayer for all the souls we lost two years ago, but I refuse to concede that doing so is somehow a "patriotic" act. To so construe it would be to twist the word, and the true intent of what I do, in a way that would go far beyond origami, probably requiring 5-space math.

As for the men who perpetrated this horror, I take comfort in the belief that G-d's justice is far surer and truer than man's, and that they (all of them-- the ones who died in the planes and the ones who helped organize the attacks) have recieved or will receive exactly what they deserve when the time comes for them to face Him and be judged for their actions in this life. Man may fail to bring them to account for their crime. G-d will not.

I have to say, I agree with you, 'Patriot Day' rubs me the wrong way. 'If you want to commemorate the firemen, policemen and all the people who came to help out, and the people on the plane that overpowered the terrorists and crashed it in a field rather than let it reach it's destination, then it should be known as 'Heroes' Day' or 'Humanity day' which just don't have a cool ring to it, but it is more accurate than Patriot's Day, and less propaganda packed. It wouldn't be as likely to get people like my dad worked up into an indecent W-leg-humping frenzy, though, so it won't happen. Don't confuse people like my dad with the facts, their mind is already made up. Today he made the comment that Muslim equals evil, and my head was hurting too badly to argue much with him. Normally I do, because it just seems too fucking stupid a thing for someone to say, let alone someone with as high an IQ as he has. I often wonder why I am the one going to the shrink and he is not.

But then he was probably wondering why I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes when he made the bad joke that the chiropractor I went to got me straight, and he must be good because my dad has been trying to get me straightened out for years without much luck. If I could have gotten enough air in my lungs, I would really like to have told him that he just didn't know how not straight I was.