So it’s the tenth anniversary of September 11 this Sunday. You know, in case you forgot.
I’ve been watching “Sports Night” on Netflix Instant Whatever and it’s a television show from the late ’90s set in New York, so they show the Twin Towers a lot and yeah, it still hurts.
Since part of the purpose of this blog is posterity-oriented (assuming that, after the obviously imminent collapse of civilization, we’ll still be able to access the internet), which is why I do the Zoe posts, I figure I might as well use this space to do a where-was-I-when thing now. So. I was at work. I was in my junior year of college and I was working as a seamstress in the costume shop of Spingold Theater. The radio in the shop was always tuned to NPR. That particular morning, I was the only one in the room in hearing range of the radio, and at first, like so many Americans, I really, really didn’t realize what was happening. JFK, Jr.’s fatal crash was still in the back of my mind; I thought it was a small private plane and a low visibility day in New York. Then the second plane hit and I thought, “Wow, really low visibility day.” I’m a little slow. Then I heard someone scream in the hallway. A grad student whose mother worked in New York. She came running into the room, crying. She turned the radio up. It quickly became more obvious what was happening.
I still went to my Jane Austen: Novels and Films class. So did everyone else in the class. The teacher asked if we really wanted to talk about Jane Austen that day. We all agreed that more than anything, we really wanted to talk about Jane Austen that day.
Later that evening, the theater group I was secretary of was meant to have our first meeting. The president of the club insisted we stick to that plan. We don’t stop life for a terrorist attack, he said. That’s not how they do it in Israel. It’s important to go forward with our day. He was right. Of course, America has had trouble taking his advice. We still like to spend every September 11 moaning and groaning about it. Last year I heard a radio host throw a hissy because some town in South Jersey (I was in NJ for my great-aunt’s funeral) was still holding their annual Pirates and Babies parade or some such thing. “On the anniversary of September 11!” the radio host fumed. “Have they no respect?” Like, how much respect should they have, nine years later, for that day nine years ago when something terrible happened? And what better response to something terrible having happened than a parade celebrating all the awesomeness that can still happen?
Oh, wait, there is a better response. Instead of moaning and gnashing our teeth all weekend, we could do some small thing for someone else who’s had a tragedy more recently than ten years ago. My mother gave me this idea when she was in town last month, that all of this energy should be harnessed for good instead of just permitted to whine and moan and carry on. (My mother is in general not a fan of carrying on.) So today I donated some money to Doctors Without Borders. Why Doctors Without Borders? I dunno. They help people who’ve suffered tragedies. And my stepdad gave money to them a lot; I guess this is sort of in memory of him.
So here’s what I’d like my readers (all eight of you) to do. Donate money or time or something to some organization that helps people in tragic situations. Even if you just get your clothes ready to donate to Goodwill or something, that’d be fine. Then tell me, in the comments section, who you gave to, and where you were when. I know this would be more effective if I had a larger readership, but I don’t, and we shouldn’t let the perfect (or the better) be the enemy of the good, right? Right. Thanks.