I didn’t plan on writing about 9/11 today. The media would seem to have the topic sufficiently covered. I did not personally lose a loved one on that day. But I did travel through the World Trade Center via the Path train from Brooklyn to Newark five years ago and again this morning. My husband and then-two-year-old daughter saw the second building fall down from Brooklyn’s Promenade. I was unable to go home to them that night five years ago since the City was sealed and then walked through the empty, smoldering City the next day making my way back to Brooklyn. For any in the New York area, the weather today is eerily reminiscent of five years ago — though I agree with a colleague who said that five years ago might have been even more brilliant. Perhaps for these reasons, winding my way this morning through the many World Trade Center visitors, police officers, and army officials made a powerful impression.
It goes without saying that other cities and countries have experienced — and some are still experiencing — atrocities similar to or worse than September 11. Knowing that intellectually does not eliminate my slightly sick feeling. Today’s New York Times op-ed page contains several essays from writers about terrorist strikes outside of the US– Istanbul, Nairobi, Madrid, London, Mumbai. The theme that seems to resonate in each is the need for the tragedy and loss to be remembered. I wonder whether those outside of the areas directly affected by 9/11 feel today’s anniversary deeply? Relatedly, though, what are we or should we be doing with the dread, the grief, the anxiety?