Sunday, September 11, 2011

A quiet anniversary - thank goodness. Nobody I know went to any of the countless special events and commemorations, at least not today. No small number stayed put at home, choosing not to risk ... well. I wasn't here in 2001 (I was in Berlin at an International Leibniz Congress), and wonder if I'd be in the way at these events, but friends who were here seem almost resentful that they're expected to show up. As if they needed to be reminded about 9/11.

Instead, I have for days been hearing people's experiences of the day, unforgettable. They remember magical escapes - people who would on any other day have been in harm's way but that day for some big or small reason were not - and the agony of not knowing if loved ones were among the dead. One had to wait eight hours for his partner to arrive - on foot from Brooklyn, walking backwards across the Brooklyn Bridge as the police weren't allowing people to cross into Manhattan - and tell him he had not, after all, gone shopping in the Financial District that morning. Others' agony hasn't ended, of course.

It's interesting to sense how important the anniversary is to people who don't live here, although this can recall both the upsurge of generosity from around the nation, and the cooptation of the victims' deaths by a government bent on war. "Not in our name," not now either.

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