I've been dreading this entry all evening, because I have basically nothing to say on the subject. Having remembered that a) I've written about 9/11 before, and b) I once wrote an entry called "I have Nothing to Contribute," I Googled "mavarin contribute" just now. Sure enough, I immediately turned up an essay that still expresses my feelings and memories exactly, two years after I wrote it. So here it is again:
Saturday, September 11, 2004
2:57:00 AM MST
I Have Nothing to Contribute
I suppose I should say something about what happened three years ago today.
I have nothing to say about it.
Nobody I know died on 9/11. Nobody I know worked in or around the World Trade Center in 2001, except maybe one friend of a friend, who months later described to me his harrowing attempt to get away from the area. (Short version: he got lost.) Nobody I know personally was flying out of BOS or JFK that day, or working at the Pentagon, or struggling for control of a plane over Pennsylvania.
Nobody I know is in Iraq or Afghanistan, although I have said a prayer or two for Peachy's brother. There were several military guys and reservists in my first few classes at University of Phoenix, but I don't remember their names or know their stories.
I don't want to say anything sappy about people I never met--all those police and firefighters, Pentagon people, office workers, business travelers, people on vacation, soldiers--or about people with whom I shared a management class.
On September 11th, 2001, John woke me up with the news. I watched tv. I was shocked. I went to work. For me it was something that happened on tv, to strangers thousands of miles away. It was appalling and sad and depressing, but it wasn't anything to do with me personally, except to the extent that it affected the whole country, and the whole world.
I hadn't been to WTC since a senior trip to NYC in 1974, during my junior year of high school. Since then, I don't think I've been any closer to the place than the Newark, NJ airport, or possibly a Beatlefest on Long Island.
I couldn't watch tv at work, so I listened to the radio. I downloaded this picture. A week later, I bought a flag. We made a flagpole out of a broom handle.
I don't want to rant about Bush, and the way his policies make us ever more hated by a growing percentage of the world's people, or the fact that nothing we do or say can ever make the hardcore jihadists our friends. I don't want to go on about the obstinancy of both sides of that stupid barrier Israel is building.
I don't want to reflect on the Patriot Act, and the inevitable tension between security and freedom. I don't have any stories about human rights violations or unfair treatment of people from the Middle East. Dave at work tried to help a client get her sister clearance to fly in from Afghanistan, or to be allowed back in the U.S. if she visited another relative in Canada. I forget the exact story. It was some kind of deal in which she couldn't leave and come back unless the visa would still be good three months after departure, even though the trip was for a week. Something like that.
The truth is, I have no personal slant on this at all.
It was a terrible thing, a horrible, misguided, inexcusable mass murder perpetrated by zealots with an Us and Them mentality, the same dehumanizing, demonizing mindset that's behind pretty much all war and cruelty and brutality. People died, and people suffered, and people went to war because of it. People are still dying, half a world away. In New York City, people who tried to help gave themselves a cough that won't quit.
But you know all that. There's nothing I can say about 9/11 that you don't already know.
I'm either coming down with a cold or having my worst allergy attack in years after all the rain we've had since last weekend. I already took a nap a little while ago, but I don't exactly feel much better. I'm going to have to overdose myself and go back to bed. Meanwhile, though, here are some photos that have been building up all week of Tucson's late season clouds and rain and flooding. They are offered without comment. Well, almost.