Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 as all the world remembers, four coordinated terrorist attacks occurred here in America. Four planes, flown by the terrorists on collision courses caused the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York, damaged the Pentagon, and due to the resistance of the passengers, the fourth plane crashed into a field, killing all aboard. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 2,996 people, including the 19 hijackers and 2,977 victims. The victims included 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,606 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Nearly all of the victims were civilians; 55 military personnel were among those killed at the Pentagon.
I'm already seeing memorial posts sprouting all over the place on the internet. Some are patriotic, with symbols like the American Flag, or the Bald Eagle. Some pictures are linked by inflammatory text to the current Syria crisis. I'm also seeing posts and articles saying its time to move on and forward and stop all the heavy mourning.

I think that first of all, mourning is a process. Its not black and white, it doesn't have a time limit on it and the expression of our grief takes many forms. It takes as long as it takes, be it an individual or the collective heart and soul of a nation. Those that need to post memorial posts or talk about it, really *NEED* to do so, to express their hearts, to process the pain and memories. We need to respect this process, to understand it, whether or not we need to participate in it.

Secondly, the remembrance needs to be unhooked from the political polarized debates, raging rants and divisive arguments. I know the current international issues hit very sore nerves that are connected straight to the events of 9/11 and the years that followed. And people need to be able to express that, too. But honoring and grieving and remembering who died and the horror that gripped the nation and the world should just on one day, this day, be free of political dialog and manipulation, rhetoric and demagoguery. It should focus on those who were lost, and those who remain, on the collective soul of the nation as we continue to work our way out of the emotional pain and damage of those days.

Thirdly, I do think that as the healing process continues, that looking forward *is* as important as looking back. That remembering what happened and what we learned in those dreadful hours and days should spur us, today, to current compassion, critical thinking, and honorable behavior. But moving forward and looking back occur simultaneously. The cannot be independent of each other. We cannot make them exclusionary of each other. We cannot say "we have to stop grieving and carrying on and move forward" - it doesn't work that way, and that can be a painful statement for someone who still has grief and pain to live with and work through. Whatever our personal processes, we need to be respectful of how other people need to work out their grief. Even, after what I said above about unhooking it from the political, even if it isn't how I or you or the other person needs to express themselves. I admit, the distaste I feel about the politicization of current issues coupled with 9/11 is a *personal feeling*. I feel strongly that I have good reasons to feel that way...but I'm not going to be un-friending, if its Face Book or some other social media, or publicly criticizing anybody for their posts tomorrow, even if I don't like or agree with their contents. It may be how they work out *their* grief and anger.

May all those who grieve and mourn the events of 9/11 
still be comforted by their communities, 
by their faiths, 
by their philosophies, 
and by finding ways to express their hearts. 
Even as I am doing right now. 

For all those who died, 
may they be honored, 
remembered, and their loved ones cared for and comforted this day. 
What is remembered, lives.