Remembering 9/11

The Daily Escape:

This mass includes parts of five floors of the North Tower of NYC’s World Trade Center that compacted on 9/11/2001 during the building’s collapse. iPhone photo by Wrongo taken at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, September 2016.

The above is among Wrongo’s favorite pieces at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It is a charred and pitted lump of fused concrete, melted steel, carbonized furniture and other, less recognizable elements. It weighs between 12 and 15 tons and is four feet high. If you ever thought that humans who were in the Twin Towers when they collapsed might have survived, consider this pancake.

The 9/11 Memorial’s email today asked this question:

“Did you know that over 100 million Americans have been born since September 11, 2001?”

Although Wrongo has a grandson who was born later that week and who’s now turning 22, Wrongo had no idea that roughly 30% of Americans have no memory of this event that profoundly shaped America in the past 22 years.

What do those of us who do remember 9/11 want to tell those who can’t remember it? Maybe that there’s too much fear in America, and all of that fear is grinding us down. The visible scars of 9/11 are gone, but more than ever, America lives in persistent fear.

We distrust Russia. We worry about inflation. We worry that our budget deficit will bankrupt us. We fear for our kids’ safety while they’re in school. We worry that if we lose our job we won’t find another one. Some of us worry that we’ll never find the job we’re looking for. Some of us think the rest of us are Communists. The Lefties think the Righties are fascists, and we’re still afraid that ISIS will attack us on our streets. We fear the mob outside our gates trying to get in. We fear the immigrants already inside the gates.We think most of the news we see is fake. Many of us distrust our public school teachers.

Hell, we don’t trust our government!

Succumbing to so much fear has enabled the growth of internal threats that could end our democracy:

  • We’re so angry that we’ve lost much of our social cohesion
  • We aren’t willing to deal with income inequality
  • We’re seeing overt racism grow before our eyes
  • We see clear threats to the right to vote, or whether our votes will even count if we cast them

So today’s wakeup call is for America, particularly for those Americans born after 9/11. Don’t forget the heroes and the victims of 9/11, but please, learn to stop letting fear drive you as much as it drives those of us who are old enough to remember 9/11.

Here’s a 9/11 tune: The October 20, 2001 “Concert for New York” can’t be beat. It was a highly visible and early part of NYC’s healing process.

One of the many highlights of that 4+ hour show was Billy Joel’s medley of “Miami 2017 (seen the lights go out on Broadway)” and his “New York State of Mind”. Joel wrote “Miami 2017” in 1975, at the height of the NYC fiscal crisis. It describes an apocalyptic fantasy of a ruined NY that got a new, emotional second life after 9/11, when he performed it during the Concert for New York: 

Check out the audience reaction to Joel’s songs. That doesn’t look like fear. That’s where we all need to be today in 2023. It isn’t hyperbole to say that the city began its psychological recovery that night in Madison Square Garden. Please visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum if you haven’t been there yet.

David Price

I just now caught up with this posting, sitting alone at home on Thursday afternoon. I cried all through Billy Joel’s songs….. as I’m sure I did when Pat and I watched that concert on TV in real time 22 years ago.

And yes, that audience does not seem afraid. Fear was not my feeling that night either. Sad, yes, but not defeated and surely not isolated.

I appreciate your encyclopedic knowledge of music and your imaginative matching of music with blog focus. I do not always watch your musical selections, but I may now do so more often. Music has so much power to create and reinforce community. And the fraying of communal ties discourages and defeats us.