Today marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. (Note: This is adapted from a post I wrote on this anniversary two years ago.) Twelve years have passed — more than a decade — but for those closest to the terror, for those whose loved ones were caught in that unimaginable rage storm, for those who trained for this, who mobilized and fought so hard to try and save the lives already lost to them, we pay tribute by refusing to forget.
The pictures are all that is left. They stay with us and resonate as terrible, beautiful works of art.
The agony of the men and women who could do nothing but stand by and watch the towers fall reflected and drove home our own agony — even those of us in the hinterlands who watched the horrific events unfold on our TV screens, helpless to do anything but gasp and moan and rock with a kind of psychic pain most of us had never felt in our entire lifetimes.
As painful as the dredging up of the images of that terrible day is to us, there is no sense of dread as the annual anniversaries approach. Every year, on September 11, we want to remember. 9/11 has become a watchword. Nobody in America has to be told what those numbers represent.
As I write this, they’re reciting the names of the men and women lost to us on September 11, 2001 in a ceremony to honor the dead. The names are being read alphabetically. For one brief moment the people live again. We do this for their families and for us. They’re not just numbers or actors in an unimaginable event that became the catalyst for an entire decade that changed all of our lives forever. We need to keep their memories alive in order to recognize their humanity, and possibly our own.
We remember. We remember. We’ll always remember.