Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Today was...

Sort of sad. Sort of comforting. Fairly normal in many respects, except, of course for the memorials. I didn't want to so much revisit the disaster with documentaries or listen to the rhetoric of war in retaliation as I did listen to the names as they were read by child relatives of the victims, slowly, taking a couple of hours to go through each and every one. Each name is a person. A son. A mother. A cousin. A loved one. In each anniversary we've marked since that day, the names, for me, are the important thing. Each name a face. Each name is real. Names of so many ethnicities, some unfamiliar as children stumbled to pronounce each one with the attention it deserved. I thought that was the best of memorials, that and coming, ever so briefly, to a standstill in our lives before moving on to life where our very continuance defies the aims of the terrorists.

No, I'm more concerned with things like the young woman who was after almost two years finally left the hospital, walking, slowly, on rebuilt legs. Or seeing children at the memorial who were probably not even born when their fathers died now walking through the artwork and pointing out something of interest. I remember thinking of how their lives would be forever overshadowed by this disaster, that sometimes, just maybe, they would wish to forget that they are a child of 9/11, and just concentrate on being a child. And how can children who were too young to remember that day ever going to grasp its enormity? Those of us who watched cannot even do so. Those who were there, in some respects, cannot even foresee the ripples this caused. The scarring of psyches will remain along with the physical scars, and because of the widespread arm of the media, millions who otherwise would not have witnessed such history in the making had their own images etched into their minds--a sterile experience compared to those on the ground, but a difficult one nonetheless.

I wish that we could have one memorial that, sadly, may be beyond the grasp of human nature. I wish that for one day, throughout the world, we could have a day where no man killed another, a day not free of death, because nature claims her own, but one where death and violence at our brother's hands did not come. Is that too much to ask? One day? A vacation from murder? In the ancient world, foes agreed not to wage war on certain holy days. Funny how we see the ancients as barbarians, but we can't even agree on something like that. But then, the world seemed smaller then. There were not so many people, so many different views. Still, it's a nice thing to imagine, don't you think?

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