Sunday, September 13, 2009

9/11: A Retrospective

Originally posted to my deviantART Journal.

What was I doing on the day the Twin Towers fell?

Honestly, I can't remember. Is that a bad thing? Keep in mind that I was only ten years old.

I'll dedicate this space, instead, on what I remember afterwards.

I remember echoes of rumours that an aeroplane had crashed into a building, maybe at lunchtime. I remember a small television on a dolly; whether or not we watched the news reports or not I don't remember.

I remember seeing the news early the next day on CNN.

I remember clearly the photograph of the South Tower, engulfed in smoke, that was displayed predominately on the front page of the Western Leader (our local newspaper), captured by a photographer from Laingholm.

Photographs of young, sad children waving the American flag. Photographs of the rescuers, with the haunting imagery of the smouldering ruins as their backdrop.

Photographs of the hole in the Pentagon, and of the remains of United Airlines Flight 93 in a field in Pennsylvania.

I have all these in a scrapbook. I tried to collect newspapers, as many as I could find, and paste anything about the disaster I could find into it. Even though the pages are yellowing, I still have that scrapbook on my bookshelf, tucked away with a few issues of TIME. Perhaps I did it for a school project? ... I don't know.

At the time, I don't think I realised what had really happened. How do you explain death to a ten year old? It was an abstract concept, far removed from the minds of the young. I just knew something bad had happened, and people were hurt. People were no longer alive.

On that terrible day, eight years and two days ago, we lost many people. Many lives were changed. And so, come September 11th, we morn the lost. Not only that, we celebrate their lives. We wish them and their families peace. We lower our flags to half-mast to honour their memory.

A hundred years from now, when few are still alive who remember the disaster, would we still morn? Maybe. I certainly hope that we remember what happened, at least.

That day was a day of sorrow, a shadow that hovers over us, even though the shadows of the Towers hovers no longer. A blight, a smudge in the manuscript of human history.

But we can't let that stop us.

So, rest in peace, those soaring souls that were joined with the ground and sky. Wherever they may be, we have to hope they are finally at rest.

And as we stand, sit, walk and run, drive or fly or swim or boat, we remember them on that day.

We need to remember.