We’ve reached that mysterious point with the September 11 attacks that we seem to make a bigger mention of them only in five-year intervals.
I hadn’t planned on writing about the September 11 attacks this year. I wrote about them several times over the years.
The 9/11-related post I’m most proud of was the story of one of the victims of the attack. His name was Joshua Birnbaum. I never knew him. But I was in an edit bay watching footage from a reporter who had been sent to New York to cover the tragedy in the months later. I got to know his story by watching that raw interview footage.
Somehow, I felt I came to know him. Writing about him — his story — felt appropriate.
But I thought I’d written about 9/11 enough…at least for now.
I figured I’d come up with something in 2021 in time for the 20th anniversary of that terrible morning.
But I began seeing friend after friend posting things about Sept. 11 on Facebook. One post that particularly touched me was a shot of the World Trade Center towers on the night before the attack. The caption said something to the effect that 18 years ago, people went home from these towers not knowing it would be their last night alive.
Another post on Wednesday, the day before the anniversary, featured a nighttime shot and a caption about more than 3,000 people spending their last night with their families 18 years ago that night.
Think about that, it said.
I have been.
The passage of time is supposed to make things easier.
In a way, maybe it has.
The September 11 attacks happened 18 years ago. The wound isn’t as fresh as it used to feel. (Although I respectfully suggest that this is absolutely false for those who lost loved ones that day.)
It’s funny, though, how easily an image or a piece of footage can bring so many feelings back.
A few days ago, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of the famous Budweiser commercial that ran during the Super Bowl after 9/11. I can’t get through it without my eyes watering.
The other day, I heard a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace and was immediately reminded of the funerals of first responders after the attack. I can’t listen to that without breaking down.
I guess I don’t have a real point here. Maybe it’s a good thing that at this distance, it’s still difficult to know how to feel.
But I think it’s still very important that we make time to pause to remember what happened. And remember the victims and their families.
For them, it’s always time to remember what happened that morning.