2 posts in one day is a rarity, but this is something that holds a lot of importance in my life and I wanted to acknowledge it. I just came home from the 9/11 Memorial on College Green, which provided a much different experience than I expected.
Never forget. It’s a phrase plastered on bumper stickers and flags. We’ve all seen it a countless amount of times. But does it really ring true? One of the boys at the service spoke of his frustrations today when he watched Penn students continue their daily lives, oblivious to the date and its significance. His point was that, yes, we are supposed to move on and heal…but what can be said about the mere 15 others in attendance at tonight’s memorial?
I’ll never forget the first vigil I attended on the night of September 11, 2001 in Van Neste Square in my hometown of Ridgewood, NJ. I was only 11 years old, and I just could not wrap my head around the events of the day or the changes that had taken place in our nation overnight. As I stood there crying with my mom, an older woman approached us.
I’ll never forget her, a complete and utter stranger, looking me directly in the eyes and telling me that everything was going to be okay. When we averted our gaze for just a moment, we couldn’t find her again. We never saw her leave, and I never saw her face again. I can’t even remember much of what she looked like.
But I do, and always will remember my mom’s suggestion, that she could have been an angel. This thought gave me comfort during such a terrifying period.
The point of my recollections is not to dwell on the past, nor is it to recover and reopen all of the wounds incurred on 9.11.01. I just wanted a few minutes to think about it, and to remember that day for all it was. Perhaps the point of that boy’s speech was to ask everyone else to do just the same.
The chaplain who spoke really hit home when he prayerfully mentioned to keep in mind those who are pouring over photographs today. I am most assuredly one of the lucky ones. I know many people whose dads never came home and have seen their grief and anguish as they cope. Although most of us do not need to remember today with as much pain as those who lost love ones, we still need to remember it. It just felt right to allow myself some time, 9 years later, to think through everything that happened and say a prayer.
God bless America, and God bless those families and friends who lost someone important on this day nine years ago.