Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy 9/11.

That's right, I said it, "Happy 9/11." In the past eight years, there has been really nothing at all happy about 9/11, but as the time passes and the memories and pain soften, I find myself thinking this more and more. Now, allow me to say that my personal experience with 9/11 is like that of 80% of the country: I watched it on TV. I did not know anyone (at the time) who was there that day and the prevailing feeling of that day was a surreal fear.

Once the plane went down in Shanksville, PA, the city of Pittsburgh was evacuated. I had just put my pregnant girlfriend in the car and sent her about sixty miles south of the city to her parents' remote and reasonably well-armed home. I think she may have just beat the rush, but I have never asked her about that day. I drove to State College for business but took the route past Shanksville and only got as close as the traffic detour.

As the years have gone past, those directly effected by the attacks and those just affected by them, as I was, on a national level have found different ways to memorialize and mourn on the anniversaries of the attacks. As the national narrative unfolds -- the economy, the wars, and the deeper divide that is happeing to our nation -- 9/11 seems to be a grim reminder of the first day of it all going to hell. It's why when I say, "Happy 9/11" I am not being glib or disrespectful. I am trying to remind myself that it is okay to be happy today. I am hoping to move my thoughts towards the future, instead of with my back turned looking down the path.

I am not saying forget what happened, because that is impossible. It is the most documentend day in history and it will be forever discussed, debated, and studied. The holes created in the lives of the families and friends of those who lost their lives that day will never be filled or even vindicated in any real way. Yet, I honor those who lost their lives by celebrating mine and yours and even the lives of the people I can't stand the most.

There is no reason we can't mourn with tears in our eyes and laughter in our hearts. I like the idea of 9/11 becoming a day about service and helping others. The weeks following that event were arguably the closest I have ever seen the citizens of this country. Especially with the political vitriol that seems to separate more and more, I am reminded of the last time we were all simply Americans. It brought out the best in us, if not the government. If the anniversary of this horror can cause that phenonmenon to come back, even in just a small amount for just a small time, that will indeed be a happy 9/11.

JMP

P.S. I apologize for the infrequency of my posts, all dozen of my readers. However my words are elsewhere and I encourage you to click and check them out.

http://steelersmix.com -- I post a weekly column on Tuesdays.

http://www.blackandwhiteprogram.com -- An essay about the economy and it's effect on the ease of retention.

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