Monday, September 10, 2007

What's in a name

September 11th has become a somber day for me. It's the Kennedy assassination of my generation. I know precisely where I was when the details began to unfold - the confusion, then the chilling realization of what had happenned. Every year I feel a considerable loss, and I mourn not only for the people who died on that day, but also the loss of the banding together, as Americans, that happenned that day, that has since been extinguished by the misuse of 9/11 as a cover for a misguided war.

Did 9/11 affect our nation more than the Kennedy assassination? Will people 45 years hence know and commemorate the date of September 11th? I will admit I had to look up the Kennedy assissination on wikipedia to discover when it was (November 22, 1963). But, since September 11th is "September 11th" or "9/11" not the "Al Qaeda attacks on American soil" or even the "World Trade Center bombings," it seems difficult to think that the actual date will ever fall into neglect.

The fact that the events and the date are so inextricably tied creates a disorienting sensation when abroad. It's September 11th here. But 6 years ago today, it was September 10th in New York, still bright and hopeful. Most Australians likely didn't hear the news until September 12th. I feel like I should be taking my moment of quiet contemplation today on the events 7 years ago and the reactions to them across since then. But, I feel alone in doing so. I could wait til tomorrow to review the slide shows of the memorial at ground zero. But that's still not my September 11th.

Perhaps though, mourning without the media's recounting of events, the excerpts from the blackboxes, the harrowing 911 transcripts, is the most healthy thing to do. Maybe it is part of the recovery process. I don't believe that a September 11th will pass in the next 100 years that will be devoid of some formal recognition of the date, but maybe it's time for Americans, or at least for me, to start to move on.


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