I had hoped by this date to have reached the point of September 11, 2001 in the telling of my own story, but I haven’t yet managed to set aside enough time for that project to make it happen. I’ll save the untangling of that painful knot for a future date. For now I just want to join others in solemnly marking the day and the passage of another year.
In past years, I’ve looked without much success for 9/11 memorial services to attend in the Bay Area. Maybe we’re just too far removed from the sites of the attacks out here. (Maybe, I often think, we’re also too far removed from the reality of that day.) Last year I ended up spending the day alone in quiet remembrance, watching and reading as memorial posts unfolded across the “blogosphere” with which I had only recently become acquainted. In hindsight, I did attend a memorial service of sorts that year, with a far-flung extended family that shared my grief. I expect I’ll be checking in again with many of the same folks as today wears on.
Yesterday I finished watching the remarkable two-part National Geographic documentary “Inside 9/11” that Bill Whittle mentioned in his recent essay and that has been waiting for me on the TiVo all week. It was difficult stuff to get through, to be sure, but a journey I had to take. We must remember and clearly understand what happened on that day and in the decade-plus of malicious planning that led up to it, and I think the creators of the National Geographic documentary have helped facilitate that by producing an exemplary piece of journalism one that presents us with the known facts, and leaves us to weigh them.
My watching of “Inside 9/11” prompted many thoughts, but I will leave it at one for now. In our grief, we must not forget this was not merely a “tragedy” or misfortune (though it was certainly the former), but an act of war by violent extremists who mean to destroy us by dividing us against one another. I often fear they may be succeeding. If we care anything for our culture and way of life, we must not allow them to prevail.
One of the most moving and memorable reflections I read this year was this 2003 article about the search for the identity of the famously photographed “Falling Man”. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the pointer!)
Also recommended: a 9/11 photo-essay at Pajamas Media.