Sunday, September 11, 2011


ten years ago, the world changed.

i have a lot to say about this.  i'm a new yorker and i remember that day like it was yesterday. 

you know what else i remember?  the first anniversary.  i was working for a major international company and our office building had four moments of silence that morning. 

during one, the printer went off.  it was silent - you could have heard a pin drop - and a huge, industrial-strength printer just starts printing off a report.

and i cried at that moment, not just from sadness at all that was lost - but joy at all that was to come.

in the midst of grief, sadness, tragedy - life goes on.

reports needed to be run.  they needed to be printed.  were we changing the world?  not so much.  but it went on.  i remembered that for the second anniversary, and the third one.  we still observed moments of silence.  in other states, in other places, september 11 is just another day at work.  people remember it because of the news coverage.  in new york, in dc, and in households around the world with an empty seat at the table, it's not just another day.  it's a day where we look to the sky, and remember how it was just as blue and clear on that morning.  it's a day where we look toward manhattan island and remember how we could see the plume of smoke for months after the attack.  it's a day where we go about our lives as changed people.

remember that earthquake in dc a couple of weeks ago, how everyone on the east coast was freaked out - but no one more than dc'ers and new yorkers?  that's why.  when we feel buildings shake, we do not think 'earthquake'.  we think 'terrorists'.  all those west coast bitches who were calling us pussies?  yeah. 

but we go on, still.  we take our shoes off at the airport without complaining, we don't love the TSA's rules but we understand them.  we have seen what can happen - we have seen it with our own eyes, smelled it, witnessed the gaping hole in the skyline, the gaping hole that was in the ground.  we have watched bodies pulled from the rubble covered in american flags, we have looked worriedly to the sky when we hear a low-flying plane.  we have spoken to friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, who have lost someone there, rescued someone there, recovered someone there, or helped clean up the pit.  we have seen the things the media won't show you, and felt the things the media cannot describe.

but we go on, still.  we do what we can every day to go on, pushing the fear down and keeping our eyes on the sky, on the lookout for that stray bag that might have been left behind.  we go food shopping, we work, we sleep, we love our families and life goes on.

life will never go on for some.  ten years ago today, 343 FDNY lost their lives trying to save others.  23 NYPD officers died doing their duty.  37 PAPD officers were killed.  cantor fitzgerald - one company - lost 658 employees. 

guiliani attended 200 funerals in 2001.  98 FDNY vehicles were destroyed.  115 nations were represented by lost people in the attacks. 1,506, 124 tons of debris were removed from ground zero.  i'm going to type that out: ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED SIX THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FOUR TONS

new yorkers are not as crass as we're painted to be.  36,000 pints of blood were donated in the days following the attack.  258 were used.  289 bodies were recovered intact.  19,858 body parts were found.  1,717 families have no remains from their loved ones.  1,609 people lost a partner.  3,051 children lost a parent.

it's estimated that over 400,000 new yorkers suffer from 9/11 related PTSD.

i'll repost what i posted this morning on my facebook, after i observed the digital moments of silence along with countless others. 

"we remember this day every year, but really we should remember it every day. instead of hating our differences and killing others because of them, we should celebrate them and love each other. there is no god-figure that encourages killing or hatred, there is no religion that condones killing those with differing beliefs.

there is no reason the twin towers had to fall, no reason the pentagon had to have a gaping hole in the side, no reason for a patch of scorched earth in shanksville.

and if we need to find a reason for these evils, let it be this: love each other. take care of each other.

let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

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