What Will You Be Doing Tuesday?
Will you listen to the list of names?
Will a tear come to your eye as the bells toll?
Will you cringe when you watch the video replays?
Or, will you be watching "The Gilmore Girls"?
America marks the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terror strikes, and the question is being asked: how much remembrance is too much?
I don't think you can legislate grief, and today's vast media landscape provides you with a bunch of options: you can wade in the waters of September 11th up to your neck, or you can completely ignore the observances by diving into music videos or Andy Griffith reruns. You can't beef, like we did in the days of three channels and no cable, that there was nothing else on television.
Does it make you a bad person? I think not. We all have different burn-out levels. To some, 9/11 will be a day that's forever blocked out on their calendars--no events, no appointments and certainly no joyous family observances (would you want September 11th as a wedding anniversary?). To others, it'll be just...another...day.
I remember being at a party years ago when someone raised the traditional cocktail party conversation-starter: "Where were you on November 22nd, 1963?" When most of the group responded with a collective shrug, claiming not to have been born yet or, at the very least, not old enough at the time to comprehend what happened, well, then, it became apparent. History is generational. Those who lived through tumult keep it alive, so long as they can still steam up a mirror. It becomes the stuff of books and grainy video once those who survived the event pass.
As hard as it may be for many of us to believe, there will be a time when the bulk of those at a future cocktail party won't remember where they were on September 11th, because it will have preceded their birth. Grief can't be legislated, and you can't mandate remembrances. Those who feel the need to grieve should be able to do so as much as they want this coming Tuesday. Those who won't will have their reasons. Maybe they just can't cry any more. Maybe they've compartmentalized it. That's how some cope. They can't be damned for that.
It's not a case of forgetting history. And, as September 11th approaches, we can only hope we aren't doomed to repeat it.