Ten Years Later

I struggled mightily with September 11, 2011. In some ways, it’s an arbitrary date in an arbitrary calendar based on an arbitrary amount of time. Why should that one day make us mourn differently or more profoundly than any other day?

But, thanks to The Daily Show, I saw this – Remembering the Day We Forgot the Lessons of the Day We Had Always Sworn We’d Remember and was shown this:

This remains so monstrous, so horrifying, so very un-Christian (or perhaps so completely Christian…). But I’m able to look past it, thanks to my intellect and my inherent morality as a humanist.  I’m always fascinated as an atheist that so many Christians profess to know the deep inner thoughts of their omnipotent and very angry god. Frankly, it seems sacrilegious, but I suppose I’m not the best judge of that…

At any rate, I did watch a fascinating show on Nova this weekend, Engineering Ground Zero. There was so much about this show that absorbed me: the unique engineering feats required to construct 1 World Trade Center; the tension between safety and aestheticism; the question of what to do with this void in very heart of the city that is the heart of the United States; the design and creation of the September 11th Memorial, which is both amazingly lovely and appropriate.

But what struck me more than anything – and made me in some ways pine for those days ten years ago of unity not just among Americans but among humanity – was the reverence with which all of the workers reconstructing Lower Manhattan regarded their jobs. None of them were maudlin or weepy or sentimental – but each of them viewed their role in the reconstruction, whether small or large, as something unique, deserving of respect and deeply important to them as individuals, as Americans and as people.

Immediately after watching this show, I wanted to post something. But it remains difficult (perhaps even impossible) for me to describe my very mixed emotions about that day and the ensuing ten years.

And then just tonight, again thanks to PBS, I saw this. And I thought it was one of the most beautiful and most heartbreaking and amazingly personal recollections of September 11, 2001. It tells a story better than I ever could.

Watch more from The Rauch Brothers. Not easy viewing, but really great work telling the stories of that terrible day in a way that is touching and genuine.

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