10 years on…

I wasn’t going to blog about Sept 11. I figured everyone already would be, and well after 10 years I honestly feel that we’ve heard all the stories that we’re ever going to want to hear about this horrific event. In fact I went so far as to place a post-it note on my drawing board suggesting that I think of a different topic altogether for my readers this week.

However… I got to listening to the radio this week on my way to work and the topic of 9/11’s tenth year anniversary was often mentioned and I found myself praying in the car that I wouldn’t be subjected to any more footage of the towers smoking whilst New Yorkers watched below in disbelief. I found this year that I just can’t handle it emotionally any more. I also find that very odd. Why do I get so emotional about something that hasn’t directly affected me? I didn’t lose a loved one.  In actual fact I slept through the whole thing only to wake up and witness the replays on the morning news as I prepared for my mundane day of uni… To this day I still regret going to uni, I wish I had of stayed home and watched this with my family instead of strangers. However in saying that it fascinated me that people were so keen to talk to each other, and for the briefest of moments there were no strangers, only other people feeling the same turbulent emotions.

Earlier this year I was sitting in an RE class where our year 9 students were watching a documentary of the day. They sat transfixed watching the tragedy unfold as people walked dazed in the streets, emergency crews rushed through the traffic and amateur cameramen could be heard behind their shaky footage uttering “oh god, oh god”. I couldn’t help drawing a stark comparison as I watched these kids do exactly what I was doing in a classroom at uni 10 years earlier. I also spent the period hoping that none of the students would ask me a question, because I had lost my voice, some how my throat had been replaced with a hard bubble. These students would have been 5 years old when this event occurred and prior to me pressing play on the video I asked them what they remembered and most couldn’t remember much if anything at all. It fascinated me that we’ve moved already into an age where there are high school students who have no memory of one of the biggest events in history.

So what did compel me to do my blog entry on 9/11 after saying I wouldn’t? I guess more than anything else it was simply that I felt that it wouldn’t be right not to say anything at all. This was a human tragedy. Innocent people died, and even more were left to deal with the aftermath. A story that really shook me as I listened to the radio this week was one man’s account of his morning. He spoke of going to pick up his son from school and as he stood outside the school he could hear the white noise of kids playing and laughing (they had been herded to the basement of the school where teachers had let them have free time and had been kept innocent of the situation). He said he was overcome with sadness as he realised that there would be parents picking their kids up that afternoon only to then explain why their father or mother would not be coming home again. The man on the radio said that for him, the face of this tragedy is the face of a 5 year old grieving and confused as he stood at his father’s funeral watching a process he was too young to understand.

To me stories like this are the reality of this event. When we reflect today on the tragedy that was September 11, let us remember first and foremost that it is a human tragedy. Let us not politicise it or speak of conspiracy theories or hate for a group of people. Let us remember those who lost someone and let us continue to support those who wish to be healed and to be able to move on.

 

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