September 11th. Seven years later. The term “post-September 11th” has become a commonly used adjective, part of our vocabulary, part of our society – indication of increased limitations and restrictions, implication of fear and lost naivety.
I don’t remember where I was when the Challenger went down. And I wasn’t around when Kennedy was shot or when man walked on the moon. But I, like countless others I’m sure, remember exactly where I was on Wed, Sept 11, 2001. Was in grad school, living in an apt in Clemson. As I was getting dressed, I heard the astonished, horrified voices of the television reporters and scurried into the living room. The roommate and I watched in stunned silence as the second plane hit. I spent the rest of the day watching the same images again and again. And again. Waiting in quiet terror for something else to happen, for another plane to hit or a bomb to drop. That evening, I walked silently to my Rhetoric class – how ironic that it just happened to be rhetoric that night – and our class sat together. We talked some, with our eyes glazed over from hours of watching those same horrid images over and over. The planes hitting. The planes hitting. The planes hitting. After 20 or so minutes… or was it longer?… we disbanded and walked through the eerily quiet campus back to our cars, back to our homes to watch the planes hitting yet again.
I’ve steadfastly refused to watch movies, documentaries, or any programs whatsoever about September 11th. I just don’t want to – I don’t want to relive that day. I don’t want to relive the horror, the hopelessness of knowing what the outcome was. On some level, I feel like I owe it to the people who died to watch and grieve for them again. But, selfishly, I just don’t want to.
For me, this September 11th has been different from all the others. Every anniversary for the past 7 years has been disturbing. But I don’t think that I’ve ever really realized that today, all those families are having yet another anniversary of their loved ones’ deaths. The anniversary of a death is a big freakin’ deal. It sucks. It hurts. It marks yet another incredibly long chunk of time without that person. And I’ll bet, even after 7 years, it still has a feeling of surreality…. that their husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter is really, permanently gone.
September really does suck. Just my opinion.