Friday, September 9, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary: Some Final Thoughts About 9/11

In view of the fact that my two previous posts were on the serious side, I tried very hard to make this one light and fluffy. 
If this were 25 years ago and I were sweating over my ancient Smith Corona electric, you would have found me dramatically ripping sheet after sheet out of the carriage,  crumpling them before tossing them to the floor instead of just hitting the delete button again and again.
I forced myself to think about things that might make me feel some levity—Seth in a dress, Joe Biden’s hair, me walking in heels—but nothing worked. Not even Nick Nolte's mug shot.
When September 11 is approaching, I feel uneasy.
This weekend I will again be fascinated and sickened by the now familiar footage. The planes hitting, the buildings collapsing, scores of people fleeing, tissues pressed against their mouths and noses.
I will again, surely, see that snippet of film of a police officer walking into billowing clouds of choking smoke, arms raised to be seen in order to shepherd terrified civilians to safety. I always try to imagine how his presence and calm must have eased their fear. 
It gives me goose bumps.
It reminds me that most people are good. Isn't it always the bad eggs who get the attention? Isn’t it true that a few poorly behaved jerks receive the air time on TV? Or get a whole class kept after school?

Or ruin a whole goddam world... 
Bad behavior wasn’t tolerated in the classrooms I learned in. The stern teachers I knew would unceremoniously toss the disrupters into the hallways by the seats of their polyester pants. They knew to proceed directly to the offices of tired but tough principals who’d call home and get their tuchases into big trouble. 
In those days, parents were on the teacher’s side. End of story. 
The troublemakers were dealt with swiftly and guess what-- they didn’t do it again. At least the sane among them didn’t.
Obviously there is no comparison to the aftermath of 9/11 and the Class Bad Boy (with whom I am now friends on Facebook) crossing his eyes for the hundredth time in eighth period geometry. 
But, in that classroom, there was one offender and 35 others who obeyed the rules. That sounds like a comparable ratio of deranged jihadists to the rest of us. 
The way it was.
I think about pre-9/11 America with the nostalgic affection I reserve for beloved children now grown into savvy adults. We were blissfuilly spoiled and didn't even know it. 
After watching the footage, I will react as I do every year. 

I will want to leap into the car and drive to New York City -- my former playground, where I attended college, got my first job, strolled with my husband, wore my babies in carriers on my shoulders -- and hug the buildings, pressing my face against the rough granite, and whisper that I love them.  
Simultaneously, I will want to get as far away from the city as physically possible, never to return and set up housekeeping in the hollowed out stump of a tree somewhere in the wilderness.
I will be remembering the events of ten years ago this Sunday when the names are read and the bell is rung.
I will think of my friend Annette who was working in the Pentagon on the morning of the attacks. She was lucky to not yet have moved into her new office which was hit by the plane. I will think of the two friends she lost that day.
I suggest we all remember to remember.
Let’s think about what it might mean if we refuse to tolerate insanity and send the trouble makers to the principal’s office where firm discipline will be administered and asses will be kicked. 
Let’s remind ourselves of who we are as a nation. 

Let’s spread love, people, because as the song says, “that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”  God bless America.

*Blogger has been a mess for two days. Please forgive the variation in font, size and spacing. Hopefully, they will correct the problem soon.


  1. Great post Miss Susan.

    I too remember the simpler days. Boys who acted up in Jr high or High school were sent to the principals office for swats.

    For the most part those swats ended the nasty behavior, at least in the classroom.

  2. Thank you, Michele. What's going on down there for the tenth anniversary? I am curious about how other parts of the country handle it. It's a pretty big deal here, of course--complete with terror threats to worry everyone.

  3. Every time I see the footage of the plane hitting the building, I hope that THIS time - it will miss... it is as shocking each time.
    Our newspaper has just produced a feature on 9/11. Stories new to me, photos too. On that day, though the attacks took place in America - they damaged the hearts of people all over the world.
    We all need to kick the asses of the bad kids, wherever we find them. XXX

  4. You wrote what was going on in my heart. Thank you Susan.

    God Bless You. God Bless The United States of America....

  5. I agree, Janet...what happened ten years ago changed life here, and everywhere, in a huge way.

    A few bad apples are trying very hard to spoil it for all...XO

  6. Cathie, thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment.God bless you, too and may we never again bear witness to such horror.

  7. Well said, Susan. Each time I see or hear the footage of the planes hitting, I am sucked back into a timewarp. I remember sitting in my office, talking to my SIL, she giving me the info of what was going on b/c I had no media means whatsoever... no tv, no internet, no radio. I was terrified. Being so close to the city... it was unreal.

    Tomorrow is going to be a tough day, as it is every 9/11.

  8. Just saw your question kiddo. As far as I know there are no official ceremonies planned. Of course I could be wrong about that. Most people I know around here are being pretty introspective this weekend.

  9. To not have had TV that day, ALicia, would have been unnerving. As horrifying as it was, I wanted to be able to see what was happening.

  10. Introspectiv is the mood of the day, Michele.