The tenth year anniversary of that grim day. This week's New Yorker cover says so much: Reflection.
September is the month of reflection. It contains September 11. It holds the beginning of the High Holy Days. On a personal note, September is our anniversary month, and our son's birthday month. September gives me many opportunities to reflect.
Like the reflections of the New Yorker cover, the Towers are in my heart.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
What did I learn from 9/11? Things I learned, and that I manage to forget all the time.
- To be grateful for life.
- That some people are brave and disciplined, and willing to give up their lives for others (firemen and other first responders are people like this, and there are others).
- That hating whole groups of people is a worthless attitude.
- That being open to people is a worthwhile attitude.
- That not everyone loves us. Defense against enemies is a real-world requirement.
- That helping others is a real-world requirement.
The Enemies We Are Comfortable With
I see bumper stickers frequently: "9/11 was an inside job!" I think this is a very comforting belief for some people. With this belief, they don't have to learn how to live in a complex world where people have enemies as well as the requirement to be helpful to people. Once the conspiracy theorists have eliminated the idea that real enemies from another country did this, they can go right back to business-as-usual. They need only acknowledge the enemies they are comfortable with: business owners, the CIA, right-wing politicians, whatever. It's a little cocoon of beliefs, and the difficulties of the real world don't penetrate.
In a similar manner, we have some women around here who like to get arrested at Vermont Yankee. A letter in True North Reports describes these women's activities during the flooding. I recommend reading the letter.
On Tuesday August 30, first responders were busy with scenes like this in nearby Brattleboro, or scenes like this fly-over, further north in Rutland. On August 30, these women marched into Vermont Yankee, chained a gate, and refused to unlock it or go away peacefully. Several policemen had to take time from rescuing people to cut the chain and arrest the women. These women had their comfortable enemies and their comfortable activities, and the suffering of other people during the storm didn't appear to matter to them.
I think they have a mindset similar to that of conspiracy theory people. Conspiracy theorists tend to look down on the rest of us as as "not understanding" reality, "being fooled" by conspiracies. I think they cannot bend their minds and emotions to living in a complex world that contains enemies and floods and heroism and the requirement to be kind. By indulging in conspiracy theories, they feel they can choose their enemies, and they stay in their comfort zone.
Today is a Day to Acknowledge Reality
I think that today is a day to acknowledge reality, not conspiracies. To understand that reality includes enemies, enemies not picked-and-chosen. Reality includes huge, deep sadness. Huge. As big as the hole at Ground Zero, and bigger. For me, reality includes the memory of the pervasive smell of decay and smouldering fires that lingered in New York for weeks.
Huge, deep sadness.
First responders saved many lives in Vermont. First responders died trying to save lives in New York.
In a small return for the suffering, reality also gives us heroes.
Verse from the Rubaiyiat of Omar Khayyam
Handcuff image from Wikipedia
New Yorker cover from New Yorker website. This is a web story about ten years of New Yorker covers on September 11, and well worth reviewing.