nine eleven. Such a simple little phrase, seemingly innocent. Two numbers, meaningless when separate but when brought together immediately bring brutally violent memories. 9/11 is such a perfect symbol too. It shows the two towers underneath a divisor line, it's made up of the 911 emergency number. It also shows that there was a distinct change, 9 / 11. Before and after.
Today I thought back to my own memory of 9/11. Everyone seems to say they remember when they first heard of it exactly, all the details perfect, what they were doing, what the exact words were, everything. I cannot. I used to be embarrased when I would hear others say they remember everything and I could not, like somehow I hadn't given it enough thought or it hadn't affected me as deeply as others simply because I didn't have a perfect memory of the moment I heard.
I remember vague things. I was in 7th grade health class. The principal came on the loudspeaker and said something about it. Something about the world trade center collapsing. I think we were all stunned. We couldn't grasp the meaning, at least I couldn't. Hell I didn't even know what The World Trade Center was, exactly. I do remember what came after. The pictures, the videos, the news, the media, the memorials, the empty air where the towers stood, the profound effect on the nation, the utter far-reaching effects on people everywhere.
I watched a two hour docudrama on the history channel about 9/11. I realized I hadn't really watched anything about the event in a long long time and the those clips showing the planes hitting and then later the buildings collapsing are just almost too crazy to believe. The fact that it looks like something out of a movie and yet you know it's real and that people died, that those things actually happened is simply shocking.
What's also shocking and also amazing is how many people risked their lives to help others, how many firefighters and police and emt's went into the shit without question to save people. It's amazing what can happen in a disaster, how people can just fucking do the right thing despite the world falling apart around them.
Why does that happen in a crisis? Why do we save each other when in dire circumstances but when we see each other on the street on a normal day we honk our horns and yell out insults? Why can't we be awesome all the time?
I don't know. Been thinking alot of strange thoughts today. Was in a 6th grade class full of kids who weren't even alive for 9/11 and it feels strange. I have that event that I will always remember, that event that clearly defined Before and After for my life. They don't have that.
In the curriculum, I guess 9/11 is taught in tenth grade nowadays though I think it should be introduced in some way before that. At least in some small way, a small explanation of the key facts, reasons, what happened and why we memorialize it every year. Kids are strange. They are and aren't innocent at the same time. They understand things without knowing them, they know things without understanding them. They are paradoxes.
Why did I write this? I don't know. I felt like 9/11 shouldn't pass without a thought from me and I thought I might as well write something down on such an occasion. Take some time to remember what happened. What terrible people can do. What amazing heroes people can be. Just think about it, for a small amount of time. An event like 9/11 seems like something we should all think about, not all the time or even often, but every once in awhile. It was life-changing, world-changing.
It is a crazy world we live in. I don't know how to end this or what line to end on or anything. So I guess that's it.