Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 and Me (Or Should I Say "Us?")

Extremely tired.  Gotta stop this late night blogging, but I can't seem to find a way around it.

The view from my workplace today, looking towards New Jersey.    A crystalline day--a lot like the day of 11 years ago

I spent most of my day working near the former site of the Twin Towers.  In fact, the college I worked in today was shut down for many months after the disaster in 2001--it was that close.

As I rode my bike onto campus, I spied a male senior citizen wearing a jumpsuit imprinted with the American flag--it was a crazy-ass outfit.  He also carried--on a pole--a US flag as big as a bedspread.  I was amused--and tried to snap a photo--but I also annoyed.

I hate how 9/11 has become a largely jingoistic commemoration.  It became that almost as soon as the towers fell.  Yes, it was a terrible, horrible tragedy orchestrated by completely crazy people who needed to be brought to justice, but Bush co-opted our collective grief to start two (in my humble opinion) unnecessary wars (essentially becoming a war criminal) which killed and wounded far more civilians (and soldiers) than died on 9/11, which is why I hate the way we commemorate it.  What happened had world-wide repercussions.  It wasn't just us.

It's rarely only us.

And don't get me wrong.  I'm touched by the tributes, the flowers outside of firehouses, the plaques--these are good and necessary things--but I was annoyed, on the way home from work, when I noticed the Empire State Building was lit up red, white and blue.

I was here, downtown, on 9/11/01.  I was 7.5 months pregnant with my second kid.  I had an almost three-year-old who was supposed to attend preschool orientation that morning.  We never made it.  I was way too distracted by the tumult around me.  Too concerned.  (Granted, it could have been a lot worse for me that day. I knew no one personally who was directly affected.)  I wasn't sure what would happen next.  It was disconcerting and surreal.  And I knew--I KNEW (I remember walking down Avenue A thinking this)--that Bush would use the event to start an unnecessary and protracted war--a war that's still with us.  I was depressed about my second kid being in a world like that.  I still am.

So instead of people, politicians, whomever, pronouncing "God bless America" on this day (or at the close of convention speeches) what I really need them to say is "God bless the world." Because I'm convinced that's what God would love to be asked instead.

Just saying.

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