I have commented elsewhere (here, here, here, here, here, and here, if not in other places, as well) on some of the significance of the day; I am not equipped to do more than “some,” of course, having been relatively removed from the losses of the day, although not from the fear. I still feel the shame of that fear, in fact, and some of the things that my youthful self was led to feel and believe, if briefly, based upon it. And, looking back, I am not entirely pleased that I seem to have returned again and again to the metaphor of wounds scarring and not healing. It is apt enough, perhaps, but perhaps trite or cliche, and those who have died deserve better than the cliche I am too apt to give.
No picture today. None is needed.
Still, the events now nineteen years ago mark me, as they mark many others–because I know well enough at this point to know that I am not special in far, far more ways than I am. They are not the only ones, of course; I remember Columbine from afar, and less vividly Oklahoma City, and less vividly yet Desert Storm, even if the last touched closer to me than the latter two. And the financial downturns have had more direct effect on me, I think, though their details remain all too murky. To move to a different metaphor, they are not so much the ink upon my pages as the binding of them; the pulp of which I am formed is sourced elsewhere, and the ink itself is made of many smaller marks, but without the binding, the individual leaves fall apart. The winds are ever-blowing, and falling pages blow away.
My entire adult life has taken place in the context of 9/11 having happened. I do not know that I will ever have enough distance from that to be able to understand it, really–and, again, I am relatively removed from the events of the day, having staggered out of a percussion class taken when I entertained the fantasy of becoming a band director to face the reality of pervasive fear that others had had to endure for far longer. For those who were closer to it, are closer to it…
There is always something else, though, always some other unbeatable enemy that still has to be fought because “we can’t let the bastards win.” Patriot Day kicked off perhaps the second forever war of my recollection (I was late into the War on Drugs, about which little is spoken anymore, even with me working in substance abuse treatment), but it was not the last one; the War on Terror proceeds, and another is getting good and started in mainstream view, though it has been going on less overtly for far, far longer than should ever have been. The old fear that has never really subsided is being stoked again and fueled and fed anew, and I and others are still far too much prey to it.
We have learned little if anything, and none of it of use.