This is supposed to be a big year of remembrance. It’s fifteen years. A decade and a half. Some kind of big ordeal compared to what? Was fourteen years less significant. Will sixteen years be less significant?
Honestly, every year is a big year of remembrance. Not just the cliche cultural milestones. Every day in some way is a day of remembrance without having to wait for the actual anniversary.
So, forgive me this year if I’m not as patriotic, or as somber, or as angry-at-the-villans as “I should be.” Too fucking bad if I don’t fit the mold you have chosen to cast on how one should behave on this day. I didn’t like being told what emotions I should have witnessing the disaster I am sure as fuck not going to be told by someone how I should reflect on it years later.
I don’t need grand gestures of flags outstretched on a sports field while the USAF conductions a flyover. I don’t need scripted moments of silence pausing every single broadcast. I don’t need preachers from the pulpit or politicians from their soapboxes with their all-the-creativity-of-a-Hallmark-Card remembrances. I don’t need candlelit gatherings and other contrived Hands-Across-American kinds of affairs.
Maybe others do. And that’s fine if that’s what suits their needs. But I don’t. So keep your judgemental bullshit to yourself.
I’m probably more sensitive to it this year because it is a “big anniversary” and the kinds of people who usually take milestone dates seriously are out in force for this one so there’s no escaping references or the hype.
My reflection is my own. Nearly every year since I’ve posted some type of look back on the blog and this year obviously is no different. I experienced that day as few people in this nation had the opportunity to, and yet, compared to many people here who witnessed it firsthand along with me, I was fortunate enough to not carry the burdens of pain they might have experienced such as losing a loved one or being injured themselves.
Because my reflection is my own though, I wish to be able to just reflect as I see fit without the expectation of conforming to some kind of nationally scripted collective mourning. My way of dealing with this has changed a lot from from those days, weeks, months and even years in the aftermath. That’s my own personal journey. It’s one that I’ve had to come to terms with for myself — And, is a journey I am still on and will continue to be until the day I die.
While it’s fine for many to cram their entire year’s worth of emotions about September 11 into a single day, that’s not what works for me. I not only don’t need or want the grandeur of it all, it actually makes me personally very uncomfortable at this point to even deal with any of the spectacle. I just want to be alone in my own thoughts without chants of U-S-A and the “Star Spangled Banner” baring in the background. It’s distracting to me. 21 gun salutes and military flyovers actually send tingles up my spine and not in the awe-inspiring kind of way either.
The thing is, the world is a much different place now than it was in 2001 when this all went down including the unveiling of the Constitutionally questionable 115 Stat. 272 “Patriot Act,” or 2002 when we retaliated by waging war against Al-Qaed in Afghanistan, or 2003 when that war expanded to include Iraq and failed to actually become “Mission Accomplished,” or 2004 when the 9/11 Commission Report was released, or 2005 when the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report was released, or 2010 the signing of the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, or the 2011 execution of Osama Bin Laden, or the 2013 completion of One World Trade Center, aka the Freedom Tower, or last year’s 2014 opening of the Museum, or even earlier this summer when the bigoted Donald J. Trump became the Republican Presidential candidate after usurping the party platform for his own narcissistic tendencies by flaunting the post-9/11 fears through a prism of national pride. The world will continue to be a different place this time next year, and the year after, and the year after that…
I don’t want to get caught in the same type of remembrance rituals this country has always done. Not because I lack the respect for the history and nostalgia surrounding those actions or because I lack the empathy for what others might be moved by personally in participating in them. But, because I don’t feel the personal connection to those things myself — and, particularly not for September 11 where my own memories of the events are engrained into who I am and continue to be. I’m not raging against anyone’s need to embrace these overt celebrations of patriotic and heroic deeds, or prayerful solomness of remembering those lost as much as I’m asking for the same respect for my ways of dealing with the day as you demand from everyone for your way.
All I ask is don’t shove your opinions about what is respectful on me. I don’t want to have to sit here and defend my experience or point out your hypocrisies any more than you would want to listen to either. You do you, today. I’ll do me. And, tomorrow, when you’ve moved on, we can go back to dealing with one another the same as yesterday and maybe next year when it’s not a supposedly “big” to look back everyone’s attitude about how to remember will be different.