Home > history, Love > 9/11: Remember, and use the remembering well

9/11: Remember, and use the remembering well

I flew a year ago today. As I shuffled my son from Eugene to Portland and onto our plane, I thought only briefly of the events of September 11, 2001. I thought of them more a couple of days later, when I learned a handful of other airline passengers that day had been detained on the basis of their apparent ethnicity.

This morning, my son’s early and loud awakening has left me a couple of hours to reflect quietly, both on the bygone day itself and how loud its memory resounds online this morning. I have watched the stream of “never forget” messages on my phone and remembered my own discovery of the news as a first year law student at the University of California Los Angeles. I sat rapt, disbelieving and heartbroken on my scavenged bed, watching the news on my scavenged TV.

As we implore each other to “never forget” and proclaim that we never will, I wonder what exactly it is that we will never forget. The horror of realizing we’d overestimated our safety? The lives lost? The dangers of hating others–be they “Western” or be they other-looking–and letting that hatred grow? The goodness of those who ran not away but toward, risking their own lives in the hopes of saving others?

It is impossible not to remember. The good in remembering is that remembering helps us avoid repeating. It’s thus that instead of saying “never forget,” I say instead: Let the memory of what transpired inspire us to be better, love better and live better today.

Photo © Mary Kushman

Photo © Mary Kushman

On September 11, 2001, my mom urged me to move back to Eugene. She was concerned about my living in an urban hub. I told her matter of factly, “I’d rather die in Los Angeles than live in Eugene.”

Eleven years later, I think mostly that I would rather live, and be inspired to live well by the memory of those who no longer can.

I remember. And I will do my best to use that remembering well.

What are you remembering today?

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 9/11/16

  1. September 11, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Watching a documentary just now, one I had apparently not seen or remembered seeing, one woman said that we often don’t remember what we did yesterday, but we’ll always remember in vivid detail where we were on 9/11/01. This is as true for me 15 years later as it was for me as it was on 9/11/02.

    I wish we remembered how united we were back then. I wish we remembered how race didn’t matter. I wish we remembered how religion didn’t matter. How soon we forget how more alike we are than not alike.

  2. Paul
    September 11, 2016 at 9:03 am

    I think I was most disappointed with world leadership – so much confusion, finger-pointing, accusations, etc. A few years ago I was at a celebration downtown with a dentist friend of mine whose parents happened to be Middle Eastern. He spoke perfect English, had been born in Canada and had gotten his degree in Toronto He had his son of about 7 years with him. We were enjoying the day when we came across helicopter rides – and they could take the three of us at once. I urged Mohammed to join me in going for a ride as I had never been and had always wanted to. He refused and told me I should go and he and his son would wait for me. I asked why and his response blew me away. He told me that his Middle Eastern complexion would mean that he would be questioned and likely refused any “For Hire” air travel with the exception of scheduled airline flights.He did not want his son exposed to that just yet.

  3. September 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you. I have been thinking of those for whom each and every day is a painful reminder, and each day an anniversary of their losses.
    I so hope that we can learn from their tragedies, but wonder… World-wide we do seem to be slow learners, and some pay a very high price for that.

  4. September 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Sadly, I think that for many “Never forget” means “Never forget what They did to us – and never forgive either.”

  5. September 11, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve been thinking about all the children who were born after their fathers died on that day and the families that were never whole again. My thoughts run towards what the tragic events cost us all, but nothing close to what it cost the families who lost loved ones. In my mind it’s a day for them to know that in “never forgetting,” we remember them. And I’ve also been thinking about how we’re even more disjointed today than we were fifteen years ago…or so it feels to me. Opportunities lost.

  6. September 27, 2016 at 12:50 am

    It was such a sad day for America. I like your motto though. Not just about never forget, but to be inspired and hold the memories in our hearts. xxx

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