Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Remembering 9/11

10 years ago I was in Mussoorie, India studying Hindi and preparing my college thesis on Indian textiles. I was walking through the common room headed towards dinner, my mind was occupied with where my next textile source was going to be, what we were going to have for dinner, and whether the drought would end so that we could flush the toilets.  I don't remember much after seeing the television screen with Independence Day Movie-like effects.  The amount of smoke from the First Tower and the second plane hitting  the Second Tower did not correlate with the CNN Header on the screen.  My brain could not comprehend that this was really happening.

My world was falling to bits, literally, and I was half a world away.

Tip of Manhattan - Shot taken in 1961 before the World Trade Center
After much arguing with school officials, who insisted I was safer in India as opposed to home, I left and returned to New York.  I didn't care that at the time no one knew if there would be another attack.  I didn't care that I might be in danger while flying home.  I didn't care that the school took an official stance that I was not to return to school and graduate that year because I defied their orders to stay in India.  I would be damned if I was to be far away from everyone I loved and oblivious to what was happening.

Just a few short years later I attended law school in Washington, DC.  The stickers of flags and 9/11 Remember bumper stickers adorned cars, trucks, storefront windows...all a silent testament to the tragic moment that resulted in a country that stood united in pain.  Years after, when I became an attorney for New York City, I worked on the same block as what is commonly referred to as Ground Zero.  Such a desperate pit of destruction I could barely bring myself to glance in its direction when forced to walk by it.  Around it, thousands of New Yorkers carried on with life.  Their actions should not be described as denial but instead as an attitude of We Must Carry On and This Won't Stop Us.

Ground Zero August 2011 from

Firefighters and Police still wear their now worn t-shirts honoring their comrades.  But, the flags have faded.  I don't see as many 9/11 bumper stickers.  Many of the arguments surrounding how to honor the fallen, what to do with Ground Zero, what the landscape of New York City will/should look like...they these are no longer the top news stories.  A lot has changed in 10 years.

I am not ignorant of the tragedies occurring around the world.  I know it was shocking that an attack like this took place in the United States but that it is not the only horrible thing that has ever happened in history.  I know that disgusting inhumane events happen worldwide and many Americans are completely ignorant of them.  It is not my intention to imply that this is the only tragic waste of life to have ever happened in the span of mankind's existence.  I am not going to go into the politics of why it happened or who started it.  For me, this is not about finger pointing.

I am simply saying: I remember.  Do you?

- rebecca lynne

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