It's that time of year again, the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I pretty much said all that I had to say about 9/11 on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Two friends of mine were killed in the attacks, the loved ones of friends of mine died, and I know a lot of people who escaped alive, though people are still dying from the toxic cloud that resulted from the towers' collapse. One friend of mine was a suburban first responder who arrived with a crew in the aftermath, but pulled them when they were given 'dust masks' rather than respirators... by individuals wearing respirators. 9/11 will form the background 'hum' in New York's psyche for decades to come. I don't think about the attacks often, but there are recurring reminders- seeing relatives of the victims that I knew, particularly one of my favorite students, who was born shortly before her father died of lung cancer a few years after the attacks.
I also wrote about the reactions to the attacks, specifically the heinous reactions that New Yorkers rejected as 'not in our name'. Like a lot of New Yorkers, I'm a bit stymied by the emotions that the World Trade Center attacks engendered in people who hate New Yorkers. Now, fifteen years later, it's even weirder, especially seeing something like this:
Sure, it's offensive, and I want to smack the individuals involved with a shoe, but in some ways, the callousness is better than the false piety that people felt they needed to demonstrate. The tragedy has faded into the background for the vast majority of Americans- it was something that they watched on television, they didn't have to comfort grieving loved ones, they didn't smell the miasma of the burning when the wind blew from a certain direction. In some ways, it's a relief that people can go back to hating New York without putting in an insincere disclaimer about 'the Fallen'. Meanwhile, some schmucks from a Texas mattress store lose their livelihoods while a much worse asshole still has his television career.
The country is moving on, memory was never the strong suit of the American public. Still, there are some of us who will be periodically reminded of the attacks because we know people who are continually reminded by the absence of the deceased. It's healthier to remember the lives of our people, not to dwell on their deaths.