September 11th in the United States of America was an emotional day for those alive and cognizant enough to recall it.
I was there. Or -rather, I was alive. I was also way out West watching on a small television during choir class with a group of peers, most of whom had never seen New York in person.
Ironically, it was a Spirit Week of sorts and the theme for the day involved wearing army fatigues. Looking ’round the room, I couldn’t shake a premonition of impending conscription.
However, life moved on for us. The world moved on.
I’m not saying we were not impacted.
For one thing, I felt a general coming together of peoples everywhere. The stranger at the store was a person for a while. A random guy on the freeway had a family. People thousands of miles away were in real pain, as they literally dislodged a spouse from the wreckage of an office building.
We have become more “connected” since then with the prevalence of social media and the ubiquitous use of cellular phones.
Just this year, these media were used to post même after image after poem after video about the twin towers.
Over and over I saw: Never Forget.
The last time my social media feed exploded was during a recent political event referred to as the presidential election. And guess what? It was ugly.
Strangers at the store? Cousins were enemies as my aunt-in-law literally unfriended and blocked her own nephew because of differences of opinion.
A random freeway driver? My neighbors wouldn’t talk to me in person because a close relative posted a picture of him wearing a hat about making America great.
People thousands of miles away were openly mocked, cursed, mud-slinged, disparaged, insulted, and intimately speculated about. Cities accused parts of themselves for viewpoints and states glared at other states.
Never forget, huh?
Unity must be a fleeting mistress in the face of actual tension. Or, perhaps she’s been silenced over a decade of numbing, self-pleasing behavior as we disparage the world and feel hopeless about solutions.
Whatever the reasons, I am saddened by it all.
If you want to never forget, at least make it real. Make it about doing something better, helpless, selfless, and loving and not about some sort of online potlatch of pictures.
For those who do, thank you. Please, keep on doing.