Monday, September 12, 2011
9/12. We have reached beyond the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Millions of words written, hundreds of songs. Thousands of poems, a myriad of art forms, presentations, interpretations, explanations, and exultations.
For me, what remains is Paul Simon's haunting rendition of Sounds of Silence. I read somewhere he was going to do Bridge Over Troubled Water, but changed it at the last minute. I get that.
My hope is that as a country, we have learned to ask the tough questions, the over-arching ones. Hardly seems like this nation is a united one at all. One look at the current political debates or the achievement of Congress tells that tale. So many non-parallel lives and belief systems under the 13 stripes and 50 stars these days.
New York's Mayor Bloomberg has requested that the term Ground Zero no longer be used. I get that too. It's become a memorial now. people etch names and leave all manner of things on, near, attached to, or on top of the inscribed name. So reminiscent of the Vietnam Memorial. But when you have 58,000 names instead of 3,000, they are a bit smaller in size. But size means nothing here.
My hope is that we won't need to build any more memorials. That remains to be seen. Remains for those who come after to find answers to those tough questions.
Yes, it's true that we are not the same nation now. We have lost much. From civil liberties to a sense of safety. We've lost time, our economy, our identity as a nation, and in some ways, our way.
I remember one of my favorite Jr. High teachers, Mr. Macaluso, drawing a graph on the chalk board and asking us if we thought the U.S.A. was still rising on it's way up, or if the country had peaked, or if we might be on the downward spiral. I remember, too, never thinking anything but upward. This gave me pause. Probably not too long because there were other things at age 14. There were school dances, and my changing body. There were things like older friends getting driver's licenses and homework and baseball and something beginning to make an appearance on the clear blue horizon...something that came to be known as the Civil Rights Movement. But I never forgot that chart. Could it be that the direction of my country (tis of thee I sing) my sweet land of liberty, was on a plateau. Certainly the next 10 years provided ample evidence. Some in the form of memorials.