September 11, 2007

9/11 Six Years On

I generally don't exercise much notice of anniversaries - Hallmark makes little from me. I recall my parents talking about the JFK assassination (I was in utero, the report of his death was a little muffled), and when news programs begin with the words "and today marks the 5th (or tenth or 54th) anniversary of something, I mostly just marvel at the ability of those of us left behind to absorb things and move on. True moments of horror or achievement all lessen, lose some of their power, and gain a little sepia around the edges. It's inevitable.

When the World Trade Centre was attacked, I was in my kitchen, as usual. Working. I have a small TV in there, but it's not on in the day. I was job hunting at the computer when my sister called from her downtown Toronto office tower. She was terrified, and together we lived through a morning that had no framework, no grounding plate. The attack may have been political, but the horror was anything but.

I walked to the school and got my sons. Reports were saying to leave the kids where they were. I wanted by kids with me. It was a day I stopped believing so much of what I was told - faith and trust in others supposedly more informed than I disappeared.

What has transpired in the six years hence has been just as much a violation of humanity as the original attack. How did we get to here?

There's an excellent essay in Salon today. Unlike me, Gary Kamiya doesn't struggle with the words - he knits together the threads of history, instinct, and the impotence of where we find ourselves today.


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