I feel first of all sadness for all the suffering this attack brought in its wake. Then incomprehension at how anyone could plan something like this. Finally, bewilderment tinged with anger at those who believe in wild conspiracy theories. And that mention of anger brings me back to my senses: how do we respond? If we pay back anger with anger, hatred with hatred, then the attackers have won once again. Dignity demands more from us. Faith in Christ demands more from us. We should be more determined to keep Christian and democratic values at the forefront of the lives of our various nations. I wish I could say that these values were held more strongly after these attacks, but alas, in Europe there is uncertainty, vacillation, incoherence, and a younger generation that flounders without even knowing what it has lost. I sometimes fear that postmodernism will achieve what the attackers could not, namely the falling apart of Western confidence. I apologise for a downbeat post. But this is what I honestly feel.
I re-read my post and realise that there was a terrible ambiguity that might be misread. To be clear: my reference to wild conspiracy theories refers to those who believe that the attack was conceived by Israel/the CIA/the Illuminati/whatever. Whereas any sane person knows that the attack the work from start to finish of the attackers and Al Quaeda.
I remember as a young teenager in 1961 the commemoration of the Pearl Harbor 20th anniversary. Many of those around me were saying, “I can’t believe it’s been twenty years, already.” which (of course) made little sense to me at that age.
Well, now it’s been ten years since another attack … and the GI generation’s amazement at the passage of time is now somewhat alarmingly quite understandable.
Bart, I have that same feeling.
I always read the [url=http://www.stennisstandards.com/2009/09/inside-look-out-on-59th-floor-of-wt2.html]story of Pamela[/url] on the anniversary and her epilogue always reminds me that while we can look back and reflect, as mere humans, we are and never can be truly aware of the scope of the human tragedy that took place that day when AQ attacked or on any day when events become much greater than any one person. So many names, faces, and stories that deserve so much attention, but are the common man’s knowing.
My feeling today is the same as it was ten years ago; based on the human history recorded in the Old Testament, whatever the details of the event, it was, more than anything else, a sober call to repentance…for the nation and for every individual in it. I do repent me of my political blindness and failure to engage with the people and events around me that are so terribly removed from the way of life to which our God has called us. I pray for a genuine awaking of the American people and for everyone, everywhere to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us and to live a life worthy of His calling.
Frances S Scott
Even though I live far away from the places attacked and thankfully lost no loved ones to terror, today just feels different. Solemn. Of course I remember where I was and what I was doing but that’s trivial. Our nation changed that day in good ways and bad.
Today’s service at church was so very appropriate. Meaningful prayers and good hymn selections including “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past.”
Ten years ago in a Maryland suburb I watched. I wept. I seethed. I ached. I drove out to the parish I was serving and opened the sanctuary. I looked at the empty skies. I was questioned by a very angry young deputy who wanted to know what I was doing at the church. I prayed. And at nightfall I went home.
Today, I walked my dogs on the Palisades opposite midtown Manhattan. I watched ship traffic in the Hudson. At 7:40 or so I watched President Obama’s helicopter formation fly down the river to the ceremonies. Again there was nothing else in the sky.
I officiated at two services this day one in English and one in Spanish, heard from some who were downtown ten years ago. We remembered. We prayed.
I did not expect to have my emotions so raw after all this time. I remain surprised.
I cannot help but wonder . . . . . do we perpetuate memories like this horror, in order to continually celebrate the heroism that was so evident on that day – – – or do we do it to make it easier for us to continue to hate? I do not ask this easily, but I am growing older, and as I do, I seem to get more and more cynical about human nature itself. And i wonder. . . . .
I wrote a post this morning that didn’t seem to make it.
I just said that in the NY Times today it said that a lot of people are trying to avoid all the ceremonies and remembrances today. I am one of them.
I was across the Hudson watching from a hotel in Newark Airport where I had gone for a meeting on the beautiful morning of September 11, 2011. My husband used to work in the WTC several years before 9/11. I had been in the WTC many many times for work-related reasons. I had visited the WTC two weeks earlier with my sister-in-law visiting from abroad and my then two-year old son and have a picture of them riding on the ferry from Jersey City with the towers rising up behind them. I had met a friend at the WTC one week before for lunch. My next-door-neighbor was in the towers on the morning of 9/11 and survived.
I had two recurring dreams for years after 9/11. In the first I am there in the north tower 10 minutes before the first plane hits and I am trying to tell everyone to get out, but nobody is listening to me. In the second, I am in the south tower. The building is still standing, although the exterior walls are not there so the wind blows in. Everyone is dead but their bodies are gone. Everything else is exactly as it was that morning. There are newspapers and magazines in the news kiosks dated September 11, 2011. I am the only person alive in the building.
I haven’t had the WTC dreams for about two years now, but last night as I went to bed I looked at the clock and automatically thought “they have exactly 12 more hours to live.” I start to feel compulsively that I need to read more details about the last minutes of every person who died so that I can make them stay alive just a few minutes longer.
I realize that survivor families and rescuers and rescuers families and many other people need to commemorate this date. But I, like many others, need to stay away.
JKC, I think that psychological theory might be helpful here. Psychologists tell us that we relive events until we feel that we have some mastery over them. I suppose, ‘come to terms with them’. This was a traumatic event for the United States because it was the first attack on its soil of any magnitude for a century and a half. It was a symbolic strike at the nation’s financial heart and at its defense command centre, among others. So it’s not surprising that this should be visited again and again, the pain remembered, and yes, the vulnerability too. But I concede, your question was a brave one and it is a reminder to us that in so far as these events which were conceived in hate produce more hate, then they have triumphed. I think that Americans are greater than this, and that all that is best in America will rise to the surface and do its best to bring good out of an evil situation.
I meant the newspapers say “September 11, 2001.” It’s a recurring part of the dream. But perhaps I mistyped Freudianly. I remember on the 5th anniversary somebody saying “it can’t have been five years ago. It will always be just yesterday.” Somebody today said “it just happened yesterday and it happened 100 years ago.” The whole event is so unreal that the date seems unanchored in time. Sometimes, as in one of my dreams, it seems that it hasn’t happened at all.
I have many thoughts but here is where they focus themselves.
We were so unprepared.
It is so hard to believe it has been ten years.
I remain amazed by the sheer weight of its impact even still these now 10 years later. I listened live via radio to the Ground Zero ceremony on the way to worship this morning and cried many times (that Brooklyn chorus was magnificent!). I had a hard time pulling myself back together enough to prepare for the liturgy.
The ceremony from New York was very moving and the memorial pools are beautiful. I couldn’t think that anything could be more appropriate.
I watched on television another very moving ceremony from the Memorial Garden in Grosvenor Square outside the American Embassy in London. It was organised and attended by the relatives or the 67 Britons who died in the world trade center. The Prince of Wales spoke about the anger he had felt following the death of his uncle, Earl Mountbatten of Burma and other relatives in a terrorist attack on their boat. But he then spoke about coming to understand the need to deal with that anger, and to forgive, and to heal. The Prince laid a wreath at the memorial followed by David Cameron and the American Ambassador together. Then those relatives who wished to do so spoke to give the name of the relative and their relationship to them and each laid a single white flower on the memorial, and children laid flowers for those unable to attend.
I found the most moving thing was seeing and hearing from the now grown young people who had spent ten years without one of their parents. So much sadness.