Counting to 11

(I spent many years attempting to mark 9/11 and my experience of it on my blog in some way that accurately captured the depth of my feelings regarding that day and, as we all do, failing, since words just aren’t enough. Last year, on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, I instead tried to encapsulate both my need to remember and my increasing need to move on once and for all. I think they were good words. So I’ll stand by them again this year. Here’s what I said last year, when I counted to 10…)

I remember getting caught in a rainstorm on the Brooklyn Bridge the weekend before 9/11. I was on my way back to Park Slope from a shopping trip to Newark, New Jersey, for Portuguese pastries. I got off the PATH train at the World Trade Center and decided to walk the rest of the way home. I huddled on the wooden walkway next to one of the bridge towers and watched the clouds race by the trade center while I waited for the rain to pass. The sky was a moody pink, not unlike the view from the towers’ skydeck in the photo atop this post. That’s the last time I remember seeing the World Trade Center, and it’s a memory I cherish.

In the past ten years since 9/11, I’ve watched almost no graphic news coverage from that day. Remembering the cloud of acrid smoke that stretched from Lower Manhattan to the horizon is enough of a memory for me. While much of the world revels this weekend in sensationalistic headlines like, “Can you look at the falling man photo now?” and “What if they had Twitter and Facebook on 9/11?”, I prefer to think no one who was in New York or D.C. when the events occurred could ever be less than appalled at reading the articles below such titles. I suppose those who weren’t there will always wonder what it was really like–never knowing how lucky they are for never really being able to know.

Ten years later, my life back then seems almost unrecognizable to me. That day on the bridge, I was a native and lifelong New Yorker, an urban planner, a Lusophile, a recovering Christian, a very angry person, and rather aimless about it all. To the older but wiser, blogging Jewish Chicagoan that I’ve become, about the only thing that still resonates for me is the sense of loss. It’s still there. It always will be, and life goes on. Life has to, because that’s what life does.

In 2006, I blogged about my personal 9/11 story. Last year, I told my 9/11 story to StoryCorps. This year, there’s not much more to say. Other than that this weekend, I miss and honor the city that I knew. And pray for peace.

May the one who makes peace in the heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and all who inhabit the earth…

Oseh shalom bim’romav,
hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu.

v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teivel,
v’imru…

Amen.

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