We Can't Forget, Even If It Hurts
How We Move Forward Through Pain
It’s been nineteen years since 9/11/2001, and it’s really hard to say what hasn’t already been said. I know I could say a million and one different things, and hope it sticks out among the rest. However, I won’t try to do that. I’ll just try to go through the memory of this awful event for what it is, something we can’t forget, even if the memory hurts.
When I was nine, I remember the voice of the president over the school’s intercom, describing the attack on the world trade center. I remember thinking, this was the world ending. The world was ending, not in the huge literal “The Walking Dead” kind of fashion. What ended was a tragic loss of innocence. We all knew well by the date of the attacks; we had the Manson murders, the crimes of Ted Bundy, and the terroristic attacks which were leading up to 9/11; this was something on another level, on a grander scale, that to this day we still can’t wrap our heads around. That the actions of few extremists, brought the country to their knees. This was a colossal loss of innocence no amount of “keep your head up” comments could fix. Nineteen years later and we’re in another colossal loss of innocence with this Pandemic. It makes me wonder, I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can say for me that this makes me wonder if things really just happen by chance or if we’re on an endless loop. Where we don’t learn from acts of hate, and continue to point fingers, without pushing to love each other during difficult times like this, and the difficult time that followed when those towers fell to ashes.
Years ago, I visited the 9/11 museum for the first time. It had been a weekend filled with celebration as the family was in New York for my older sister’s wedding, and my younger sister had recently announced being pregnant with her first child. Being in the museum, in a way, brought everything back to reality so fast, it was enough to give you whiplash. The pictures of the fallen towers, of people jumping from the towers to escape the flames, and the recordings of the phone calls of people saying their last goodbyes, were images and sounds, I’ll never escape. I can never forget what I heard, what I saw, and what it all made me feel. It all made me feel “Why are we here, if all we’re is continuing to hate each other when we should be pushing each other love our neighbors?”. It’s scary, how powerful the impact that museum had on my soul.
Waiting in the lobby of the museum, something happened.
I was sitting there with my brother in law, who was sitting opposite me and looking in the opposite direction. In the middle of the silence, I heard a whisper in my ear. “Save me” was all it said. So quick, but so real, and strong enough to brush the ear off my ear; it gave me chills unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I’m big believer of people staying behind after a tragic event. And this was a tragic event like no other, and one that would leave me surprised if those lost didn’t stay behind.
We’re never going to be able to completely move on from what happened nineteen years ago. We’ll never be able to completely forget what happened, no matter what we try to do to numb ourselves from the paint of it. We shouldn’t forget what hurts us. What hurts us should be a driving force into what can help heal us. We will all make mistakes; we will suffer loss, by things both within and beyond our control. Yes, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, no matter what we chase it will, but it’s the pill we need. We need to remember what hurts us, to move forward. The events of 9/11 hurt us in ways that can’t be explained, no matter how many conversations are had about it. All we can do now, is move forward, and never forget.