Friday, September 13, 2019

64. Aftermath (9.12)

So many people have made eloquent posts and speeches and written eloquent elegies that my recollections of the day and the tragedy of 9.11 add little. A closet former Catholic, I do recall exhorting Mia and Lorie and Erica to hold hands with me that day topray to Whatever Force they believed in. Goopy and cloying, I know—but when we're clearly not in control (we're never in control, but most of the time we delude ourselves), a higher being helps.

I think of that sharply-sunny day as full of noise, mental noise. Three good things were that: Pat hadn't yet gone into work at the World Financial Center (perilously close to Ground Zero; my friend Jaques stopped by, unable to get to a meeting in Brooklyn; and a colleague who worked with a friend assured me that my friend whose office was across the street from the impact was also safe.

On 9.11.01, after Mia, Lorie and Erica left the office to somehow get home and before I started walking uptown, I went to pick up photos at Spectrum, a photo service on LaGuardia Place. It seemed odd—and still seems odd—that I ran a quotidian errand on a day while people streamed uptown, smoke rose into the sky not that far south. Now, Spectrum is closed (who needs photo prints in a world of cell phone photos) and the Freedom Tower has replaced the columns of smoke, but some friends's health is affected forever.

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A coda: one report from 9.11 memorials came from Pennsylvania, when my brother talked about one victim's son responding to Omar's comments about "some people." My shallow research on CNN showed that Tthe son's comment was very sharp and yet respectful (although I don't understand why he indited all of The Squad). Omar's office's comments re 9.11 were equally-respectful. Here's hoping the discussion remains civil and open and that there's a way to understand different cultures, religions, and ways of communicating without being as vituperative as "some people" who happen to live a big white house. Words do matter. People jump on them.  This is a question from someone who's a good person who too often means well but does nothing—and is trying to use words to sort things out.

(For September 12, 2019; posted September 13)

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