Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We rallied together?

I see that I am not the only one to have commented on the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. This does not surprise me at all, and in fact, I am a bit surprised that more people didn't comment on it. What I am even more surprised about is how differently various commentators perceived the aftermath, most of them describing a a community that unified in response to the tragic events.

This, of course, is not what I described at all in my commentary. My memory of the days, weeks and even months following September 11, 2001 is filled with negativity, of lingering depression and anxiety even amongst those whose lives were not directly touched by loss. I have no recollection of a community coming together. My recollection is of a community that was divided and divisive.

My recollection is of friendships that foundered over disagreements on the appropriate way to talk to the kids about terrorism and an inability to tolerate differences in coping strategies (some wanted to go about their lives, pretending that nothing had changed; some lived in constant fear and thus could not pretend that nothing had changed. The former looked down upon the latter as wimpy; the latter looked upon the former as cold and heartless). I recall uncomfortable parlor games of "Who would you have called if you were stuck in the tower?" I saw marriages end, as couples took of their lives and their happiness and considered, "Is this the last person I would want to talk to if a plane hit my office building? I recall the anger of parents parents over their school's failure to "appropriately" address the attacks. I recall vicious mudslinging aimed at widows trying to collect their monetary damages and proceeds of whatever fund had been created to help them in their time of need ("Why does she need the money? Why doesn't she donate it to someone who really could use it?).

Where was this rallying together happening?



Anonymous said...

I agree completely. Moreover, I found - this year especially - that I can't think of the event without fusing it with the political/governmental ineptitude which (as laid out in the 9/11 Report and elsewhere) led to the disaster in the first place and the subsequent reactions of the government as they sporadically and inadequately try to thwart possible future attacks. The whole event is one BIG negative to me. No coming together, loving your fellow man feelings at all.

Anonymous said...

I had some kind moments... I'd hurt my foot when the barricade was up and had an interview on maybe 23rd street. Was out of work and broke and the stress of a tragedy in my backyard wasn't helping. I was limping down 2nd Avenue, coming back from a disheartening interview, carrying my heavy portfolio. During that time I cried at the drop of a hat, and I was walking all slumped forward with my head down. I remember stopping to adjust the strap on my aching shoulder, brushing a tear away and having this woman put her hand on my shoulder and ask me if I was alright.

Course as soon as I nodded and continued on I started crying in EARNEST...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might focus on the fact that in 2001 the country did come together for a period of time to recognize our vulnerability to the forces of evil. Your view seems petty and self-centered in view of the enormity of he event and the fact that it was so close to you geographically.

In 2006, the remembrance was scarred by the fact that it became become a political event and was shamelessly used by Pres. Bush to justify his evil agenda.

yoga chickie said...

Well, you can write about those rosy days of autumn 2001 on your own blog if you have one, or else get together with some of your friends and reminisce those good old days. My blog is about MY experiences, and I believe that suffices as an explanation of the "self-centered" view. Petty? If that is what you got from it, then you got the right idea. Life went on in all its petty, mundane glory.

If you want a political blog, there are plenty of them out there. You won't be hearing much about politics or "the big picture" here though.

Anonymous said...

"Life went on in all its petty, mundane glory."

Sad to say, that was certainly my experience. In my petty, self-centered fashion, I keep thinking that if the September 11 experience impacted people as the "legend" implies, then the idiot I worked for would not have fired me a mere month after the event.

Anonymous said...

I was living in Sydney at the time and the day after the attacks...Sept 12th I was practicing at the Shala and had just finished my practice....it was 8am.
It was just me and my instructor and a woman who had just arrived for a private with my teacher. My teacher said to her "Libby can you believe it last week we were talking about my PMS and this week the World Trade Center bombings" This woman replied...."Those stupid Americans!" With which my teacher motioned towards me and said..."Debbie's an American" (I cringed) This woman looked right at me and said "I hate Americans!"
I was so gob-smacked I got my bag and left....got so many calls of apology from my teacher...but no, there was not a coming together of people all over the world at all.

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I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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