Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can we remember?

A marking point. A defining line. A place where you can distinguish between the two halves of your life. Before and After. BCE and AD. For my grandparents, that date is December 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. For my parents, it is November 22, 1963, the day that President Kennedy was assassinated.

I always wondered what my date would be. What day would stand out where I could clearly point to it and say, here, here is where my life was changed? As I grew older, I thought, maybe my generation won't have such a day. Could we be that lucky? (Of course, this is a very American-centric view of the world, there are dozens of dates to pull that are significant to peoples around the world.)

Well, we have a day, a defining line, a moment in time that is ours. September 11, 2001 is that day. The day that the world changed. How trite that sounds, but how true. I don't think I ever understood before that day how my grandparents or parents felt on their days. You can sympathize, but you don't really understand, can't empathize. I guess it's one of those things where you really do have to be there.

Time marches on. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but time blurs memories, makes them hazy, and you start seeing that day through a mist. Our children's generation will not know how our country came together on September 12th. They will know the stories, but not feel it in their hearts. Our grandchildren will learn about it in school, and just file that date away in preparation for a history exam.

We say that we should never forget, but how can we ever remember?

Today, in order to commemorate September 11th, Bridges is running their first 100 Words Project. Please stop by to read others' memories of our generation's defining moment.


Jill said...

I know I've thought this exact post- I just wasn't sure how to put it into words. It's beautiful. Thank you.

Jen said...

I really agree that it is something that you had to experience to understand. For younger ones, it was always like this.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

This was wonderful. That is exactly it--but I am so thankful for the people who don't understand the change. Who didn't know what life was like before. It's worse knowing.

Gumby said...

I still remember exactly what I was doing that morning... sitting in the living room of my new, first house waiting for delivery guys. I turned on the news (GMA, actually I think) and they were talking about some issue with a plane and showing the towers and just like that - a plane flew into the building! At first I thought it was some movie review or something but quickly realized it wasn't. And then the other one... and then the Pentagon... I called my mom to ask if she was watching the news and we sat in total disbelief on either end of the phone. Then I called my friend at work and asked if she'd heard. She hadn't and so responded with a loud WTF?! My husband (who I hadn't yet met) was driving truck at the time and had stopped for a bite at a truck stop. He thought it was a movie on tv for several minutes until people started making a bunch of noise about it. Crazy. Horrible. Unbelievable.

But as you know, this is now a more positive and happy day for me since it is my anniversary. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Though to clarify, I haven't forgot and feel sympathy for those who were directly affected by the tragedy. I just can't even imagine what it was like for them. Again, awful!

Chelle said...

Thank you for this post. It WAS the day that the world changed. It's hard to even fathom.

Io said...

I wish we didn't have this day.

Suzanna Catherine said...

Great post! I totally agree. You had to experience it to understand. My mother was 13 the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. She lived on the West Coast and fully expected to hear bombs being dropped on her city that night! She told me that story when I was 13, but I couldn't experience it the way she did.

And some of us remember BOTH -- 11/22/63 and 9/11/01. I can tell you what I was wearing, where I was, what I was doing, what time it was, when I heard the President had been shot.

When I think of 9/11, I always think how ironic it is that this terrible tragedy happened on THAT date: 911. The date that translates into the emergency phone number in the US.

Karen said...

I've been reading all of the 100 word posts and had to tell you that I heard the news on Howard Stern too :) The guy in the cubicle next to me always listened to Stern in the mornings and we both thought the same thing at first...that it was a sick joke.