I’m on a plane.
On my way home from STREAM 2011 in Greece…a story for another day…
Nothing unusual about that – being on a plane that is – for me…and rarely ever worth mentioning.
Except that today is September 11, 2011 – the tenth anniversary of the mass murders in the Twin Towers in New York.
I went to bed last night watching the memorial services in the United States and the car bomb alert in New York on CNN and woke this morning to the same, wishing I was in New York where I was on 9/11.
Got to the airport early as I expected long security lines – questioning, searching and scanning.
Spent a lot of time at the airport…as there was nothing more than the ordinary.
Opened the International Herald Tribune – my outside the U.S. substitute for The New York Times…yes, despite my over-deviced life and multitude of feeds, I still am a sucker for a Morning Paper paper….
Read the lead story – “A Day that’s Never Ended” – essentially about the fact that around the world 9/11 means many different things – has complex layers of meaning – most having little to do with the close to 3,000 murdered victims.
Buried in the paper was a small piece on the car bomb alert in New York.
Waited at the gate – nervous “joking” from some of the Americans on the plane – wondering if we were nuts to fly today – as we all surreptitiously scanned the gate area profiling our fellow passengers.
On the plane we had our first U.S. encounter of the day – the pilot told us there would be a delay because traffic into New York was slowing down due to heightened security and terrorist attack scares.
Actually – he made me feel a little better as the dose of reality he delivered seemed closer to the truth of it than all the articles on 9/11 being the true beginning of the 21st century or the ones on how Al-Qaeda and the radical killers have been marginalized and such – tell that to people all over the world who are still cowering in fear today, not knowing who might enter their Mosque, Church or Synagogue and blow them up – who might attack their children’s school or spray a family wedding party with bullets – who might leave a car packed with explosives and ball bearings, nails and other bits of sharp metals (to do more damage) in a crowded marketplace filled with women and children and families out shopping. You get the picture – you see the same daily news that I do and some of you are affected daily by the worry.
So here I sit halfway through the flight – and all I can think of is my friend Andrew (read his story here) who gave his life to save others as he ran back up into the tower to find his colleagues who were not on the stairs going down with the rest. He did find them – I imagine – for eternity – as his ashes and all the rest are mixed and mingled and spread all over New York and by now all over the world – I believe – mixed with those of all the other victims in the long chain of violence and hatred that still connects us to 9/11 and before and will continue – I believe – until we stop looking for excuses and just confront the damned problem of baseless hatred and intolerance.
Many of you have your own Andrew to mourn and remember – 3,000 is a big number, and if you add to it all the victims before and since, it’s even harder to grasp. Holding on to a memory, a person, an incident makes it all seem so much more tangible.
“Their silent wounds have speech
More eloquent than men;
Their tones can deeper reach
Than human voice or pen.”
For me – Andrew is my touchstone – will always be – nothing that I can write or say is as eloquent as his pure memory. So with that thought I toast his memory, not in sadness but in hope.
What’s your view?
Who is your Andrew?