Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So Long To All That?

The world now contains boys and girls who possess a reasonable awareness of the world around them but carry no or very little direct memory of the September 11th attacks. So what are we supposed to tell them? And should we imbue the narrative with the same kind of emotion we ourselves felt that day or convey the events in detached, logical terms?

Many variables must be factored in when determining the answers to such questions, not least one's own level of involvement. A lower Manhattan police officer will no doubt elucidate a chronicle quite unlike one relayed by an accountant from Spokane. Maybe the best approach of all, then, is simply to wait until they ask. After that, tell the tale from as many perspectives as possible: emotional, rational, first hand, international. Give these kids something we who experienced 9/11 were denied, that is, a decent overview of the events all at roughly the same time. Do you recall how difficult it was to clarify things in our minds, how many questions surfaced, the variety of allegations and outrageous claims, the endless speculation? It was chaos on a level most of us have not witnessed before or since. So tell them. But wait for them to ask. And they will, what with the endless retrospectives and references to September 11, 2001. No doubt they will ask.

I've known two people whose birthdays fall on September 11; my own is September 13. In 2001 and a couple years thereafter, I still felt the pall of 9/11 on my birthday, but for whatever reason that sensation seems to have subsided. I'm guessing the same may not be true of those born on the actual day.

But enough is enough. Seven years later, most of us, with a few notable and understandable exceptions, ought to be able to observe these events sans the misery and the rage. My hope is we carry the lessons with us, honor the fallen and the heroes but without allowing those old, sour emotions to cloud our judgment.


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