So does the 28 year old.
Newly published Shel Silverstein poems - Every Thing On It.
Do yourself a favor and don’t just read the story, listen to it. Sweetness in there.
On September 11, 2001, I was a sophomore in college, living in my sorority house. I remember waking up to my roommate telling me we were being bombed. Twenty young women huddled around the television in the common room and watched the devastating events unfold. I remember thinking that this couldn’t possibly be real, that those buildings weren’t really falling down like a set of dominoes someone had tapped at one end.
The next several weeks were filled with questions, conversations, and all kinds of news coverage, of course. I along with the rest of the country wore my patriotism like a badge of honor, sometimes literally with red, white and blue ribbons and flag pins.
But I realized fairly quickly that I was lucky. I realized how far removed I, personally, was from the events of that day. I had only been to NYC once at the time; I wasn’t as familiar with the neighborhoods and streets in the area. I didn’t have any family in the city, or any friends or even friends of friends who were on the planes or working nearby on that scary morning.
And as I realized this distance from the events, each anniversary of that day became harder and harder to participate in. Not because I’m “over it” or, let me assure you, because I don’t care. I care deeply. I cried for days afterwards, and am still brought to tears by the stories, the memorials and, especially, by having visited Ground Zero since that fateful day.
But instead, I find it hard to participate because I feel like an intruder. I feel like I am stepping on someone else’s grief at this difficult time, and I feel like those who truly were changed - whose lives were upended, whose loved ones perished, whose worlds will never be the same - can see the word “imposter” stamped on my forehead.
I join each and every American today in sending out prayers, thoughts, and support to any and all who find this day a difficult milestone to bear. I understand it (as best I can, I suppose), and my heart aches for those who are truly reliving the horrendous series of events. But beyond participating in a moment of silence and reflection at 9:03am, I feel as though my wallowing in today’s grieving and memorials is not needed and, perhaps, unwelcome. There are so many who were truly impacted by this day ten years ago that I feel as though have no place pretending like I was one of them.
Instead, I will do what so many leaders urged us to do following the attacks - I will go on with my life. I will be productive today - I will support my community and my friends - I will laugh - I will cheer on the Colts - I will live my life never forgetting what happened or how I felt that day. I will always have a gratitude for the work so many do to keep us safe every day. I will try not to gripe about security checks at the airport. I will give those who truly need to grieve the space to do it, and I will quietly stand off to the side, my heart with each of them, as they do.