Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thoughts on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11/01

I wasn't there, and I have no delusions that my perspective on today is worth anything to anyone but myself. So please feel free to skip this post if you're avoiding this topic today. I get it, and part of me is avoiding it too.

But I felt compelled to write something today, and I'm ignoring the challah crumbs all over the floor of my house to find a few minutes and write this. I can't believe it's been 10 years. In the days after I can actually remember thinking about what the tenth anniversary of this tragedy would be like. Would that compulsion to help others, and the pride everyone exhibited toward our country, still be such a prominent part of life? I doubted it, and unfortunately, I think I was right about that.

I've written before about my experiences that day, and reading many others stories in the last few weeks has crystallized a few things for me. The fact that strikes me first is that I'm still very much in love with Marc. I remember how angry at him I was that day when we were all walking home from work and I couldn't find him. Clearly, I wouldn't have been that angry if I didn't love him that much, and I know that ten years later, I would still feel just as angry.

I've been thinking about the day in the context of my children too. Max is still too young, but we've had some preliminary conversations with Hannah on the topic. But then I'm reminded how young she is too - almost eight, yet still innocent about so many things. You try to bring the threads together. She knows soldiers fight in Afghanistan, but she doesn't really know why. She knows people died, but she doesn't know why I put our flag up on the house today. I read somewhere that you should tell children that "some people did a bad thing," instead of saying they were "bad guys." I'm struggling about how to explain it all to her, so instead we left it open - if you hear something, or have a question, feel free to ask us. I'm trying to limit the discussion to only what she wants to know.

Today we're spending a lot of time at our synagogue. Before the start of religious school this morning, a ceremony was held outdoors, the shofar sounded, the Kaddish recited. This afternoon we'll be having our annual community BBQ, an event I've helped organize for the last few years. The Shabbat after 9/11 Marc and I visited a new synagogue for the first time, where a friend had gotten us tickets to spend the upcoming High Holidays. It wasn't the right place for us, but it was still comforting to be within a community at that time. Ten years later, it is an entirely different emotion to be among friends and feel at home within our synagogue, and I am grateful for that.

My anxieties about 9/11 have also evolved and caught up to the present day. Last night I barely slept, filled with nightmares about similar events happening now, in my office tower, with my family and friends affected. They are paralyzing thoughts, even when I consider how remote the odds are. And so I read the stories, and think about all those affected, and pray for all those who are suffering today and every day because of this senseless tragedy.

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