The cover of New York
magazine reads "9/11 One Day, Ten Years" superimposed over an image of smoke from the World Trade Center after the Towers were struck.
The ladies of The View
trotted out former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani to thank him for his leadership in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Almost every magazine cover and newscast is asking us to remember.
The NYC Department of Education has developed a series of lesson plans
for K-12 students to learn what took place that day and teachers are strongly encouraged (if not required) to delve into the events surrounding 9/11.
All of this media bombardment and emphasis placed on the tenth anniversary is difficult to ignore. But, do I want to remember 9/11?
To remember is to relive. To remember is to feel the shock, fear and pain all over again. For those of us who live and/or work in New York City remembering is quite a different thing than it is for those who were not directly impacted by the events of the day. It is not part of history, it is our lives. It is our personal loss.
To remember means thinking back to when I first heard that a plane hit the World Trade Center. I was teaching preschool and a parent ran in with tears in her eyes stating that city was under attack. She had heard that the Empire State Building was also hit. Remembering is seeing the smoke rise from outside our classroom window and wondering what was going on. Do I need to contact the parents? Should I go on with the day as planned? What to do?
To remember is to feel that unsettling chill of calling my friend Adriana ("A.D.") who worked at Two World Trade Center on the 96th Floor, after I finally made it home to New Jersey late that evening, and having her young niece tell me "A.D. is still at work" in a little voice whose innocence was especially cutting against the horror of the day.
To remember that day, a day of death and loss, is too painful.
I would rather remember the life of my friend A.D. and not be forced to relive the circumstances of her death.
I want to remember how she would tease me for kicking up my leg when I had an especially dramatic moment, how she danced with me in her sister Jeanette's apartment, how she sang "Proud Mary" at my Halloween party dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, how she posed near the Christmas tree opening presents with her "boyfriend" Ed, how she loved her family and laughed easily.
The last time I was on the phone with her I didn't even speak - I sang. Her sister Maria handed me the phone to sing the chorus of Madonna's "Don't Tell Me". I did and gave the phone back to Maria.
If I can't remember these happy, silly things then I certainly don't want to remember 9/11. But how can I forget? How can any of us forget? Do we really need to be told to remember?