This isn't really an anecdote, it's more of a continuous train of thoughts that I began writing and wanted to see where it went. It may or may not make sense.
The thing about anniversaries are that you they exist to remind you of the events that occurred on that day. For some reason people find the most comfort in the bigger anniversaries, the monumental ones, multiples of five or ten.
In two years it will be the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. There will be books and dedications of plaques, ceremonies and reminders of what happened that day. It will also probably trend highly among twitter users and Facebook status updates – and then the next day, it won’t. History’s greatest tragedies always felt much heavier when reading about them in school books. Stories about those events that were told for generations, not a Nicolas Cage movie. How will that day be taught to our children? Today is the 8th anniversary. Does it matter? Do people need a reminder to remember?
I remember waking up that morning for the first day of classes of my sophomore year. After taking a quick shower, I came out to the common area of our suite to find one of my roommates awake long before he usually rose. The television was on with live footage of the still standing first tower as it burned. The second plane hit in front of our eyes. I went to class and the teacher canceled it ten minutes after it had started. The class was called History of Ethics.
I remember it taking a while before I could get through to my sister who had just moved to Brooklyn, right across from the newly named “Ground Zero”. She told me she was okay, but there was soot raining down from the sky in her neighborhood.
I remember the media explosion. One newscaster said this event was our generations Pearl Harbor. The Westin Copley hotel was stormed by authorities on live television because the hijackers had stayed there the previous night.
I remember the rumors. More attacks coming. Boston was next. The rumors got so strong that girls who lived next door to us fled to New Hampshire for the weekend. A few of us walked down Boylston and the streets were eerily vacant. We nervously walked by the Prudential Center and Hancock Tower, Boston’s tallest buildings. Eventually the nerves subsided and people began getting back to their routines.
I remember things moving on. Everyone talked of revenge, but the idea was not really so cut and dry. In the meantime sports came back, as did late night comedy. There was an outrageous list of songs that were banned from the radio because of words like crash, fly, and airplane in their lyrics. Other songs profited, using lyrics about the events of that day to get country music fans fired up.
I remember Universal Studios having there was a park wide moment of silence commemorating the anniversary, but that stopped after five years.
I remember not even noticing much the last few years. I hope I don’t forget.