Remembering Tragedy

September 11, 2012 at 7:31 am | Posted in Life and Living | 5 Comments
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It is hard to think of anything else on this day. Though life has gone on, on this day there is a somberness that carries throughout the city air. People everywhere will shed a tear as they remember those that we lost, where they were when they found out, how helpless, confused, frightened they felt. They will remember how we all came together for a brief moment to share in the grief of the colossal loss of mankind, and the sobering reminder of how short life can be.

The events of 9/11/01 will forever go down in history. But the funny thing about history is that it has a way of evolving. The moment is marked, but as time goes on stories seem to change, especially when we don’t tell them often enough. Each day that goes by brings new life and the loss of life. And so, we need to tell the stories again and again to those who didn’t experience it, who don’t know the world pre-9/11, or those who don’t remember.

I remember. I was a college freshman living away from home on my own for the first time. There was no Facebook. Information got out fast, but not as fast as it does today. Not everyone had a cell phone. Nextels were popular, but the service was terrible where I was. There hadn’t been a major world event such as 9/11 for years, at least not one that would rock the entire foundation of America, though admittedly I was never a good history student much to my father’s dismay. The first major world event that I could recall was the Gulf War. I went through a lot of my schooling without being exposed to the evils of the world. I was lucky.  It was a long calm before the storm. Had 9/11 happened while I was in high school, I think I probably would have paid closer attention during history class.

But it didn’t. It happened right when I was going out into the world for the first time. It happened when people were going to work, sitting in traffic, getting their morning coffee, taking a shower, checking their email. It happened when people were getting promoted, celebrating birthdays, going into labor. It happened while people were living their lives, and it made us all pause, as though the world had been stopped, a photo taken that captured where you were, who told you and how you felt.

Today I have my final dress fitting for my wedding. If you had asked me where I would be on the anniversary of 9/11 I could have never guessed. How could any of us have ever guessed? But life does go on, and happy times can outweigh the sad. But I will take a moment or two to remember. Because we can’t ever forget.

The Tragedies That Mark a Generation

September 14, 2010 at 7:29 am | Posted in Life and Living | 4 Comments
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from the September 11 Photo Project

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since the Twin Towers, and thousands of lives, were taken in a horrific act of terrorism.  It was one of those moments when everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news, when life suddenly moved in slow motion, when confusion and heartache took over, and life as we knew it, would never be the same.

I don’t know if the feeling is the same in other areas in the country, but in New York, there is still this underlining feeling that’s hard to describe.  It’s a sense of worry, of sorrow, of silence.  It doesn’t seem like it will ever truly go away. But New Yorkers are resilient and strong.

I had been away at college for exactly a week when it happened. It was my first time living outside of New York. I remember the frantic feeling of not being able to get a hold of my family, my father working only 4 blocks from the attack at the time.  I remember the surreal feeling, was this really happening? I remember the pain, but I also remember the pride.  My brother was on the other end of the college spectrum, and was about to enter a job market now marred by this tragedy.  I became highly aware of the world around me very quickly. I think sometimes it can take a whole college career to develop that worldly understanding.  For my generation, we learned fast.

As is only to be expected of Americans, we stood strong.  And as is true with all tragedies, we were brought together.  We hung signs that read, “United We Stand” on our cars and our homes.  But oddly enough we were more politically polarized than ever before.

Tragedies change the course of history.  It’s hard to believe they ever happened. How could JFK have been murdered?  How could so many people have been brainwashed into nearly destroying the Jewish population?  How could we have ever had slaves?  How can we still?  There are some realities that are hard to swallow.  It’s only in retrospect that you can truly see the impact such events had on shaping the world.

The future is uncertain. All we have is the past and the lessons we can learn from it.  My generation has a huge burden on their shoulders in trying to make sense of this tragedy and remembering how it happened so that years from now, when we are the ones making the decisions, we can make the best ones possible.

It’s in remembering that we keep those who perished alive.  It’s in remembering that we can try to create a better world.

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