Friday, September 11, 2009

Patriot Day.

I get it. I mean, it's hard to come up with names for these things now, I'm sure. And "The day the World Trade Center was blown up by two airplanes, a third crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed into a field, changing thousands of lives" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But I feel we're losing something in translation here. Just like I don't really, fully understand WHAT we're memorializing on Memorial Day or laboring on Labor Day, I don't think my children will know what Patriot Day really stands for.

How awful it was, even as a citizen completely shielded from the devastating effects of the day, to wake up to that on that morning.

To watch it, throughout the day at school, and cry as the towers collapsed.

To hear the stories of heroism and bravery afterward and just wish there was something, anything, I could do.

To know the pain of the families that lost fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, daughters and sons that day.

To be angry and feel futile and small against the terrors of close-mindedness and tradition. To not understand.

I still will refer to it as 9/11. Because to me, while yes, that's just a date, when I talk about "after 9/11" to my kids, they will ask, what's so special about 9/11? If I say "after Patriot Day" I'm afraid they won't ever be curious enough to ask. And I owe it to them, when they arrive, to share the history that I have experienced, because history is so important.

I don't begrudge anyone their Patriot Day. I just want to hold on to my 9/11.

Bless all those who were affected by this awful day 8 years ago.


  1. Great thoughts. My children witnessed the first plane hit the WTC building while they were eating breakfast that morning. Although they were only 8, 6, 4, I think they will always remember.

  2. Gosh, how did they handle that, LW? Were they old enough to understand? Sorry if that's a stupid question, I self-admittedly know very little about the stages of development.

    Were you in NY at the time?

  3. I'm a Canadian and 9/11 was the first thing I thought about when I got up this morning. Patriot Day (US) is stamped on my calender for today but the horror of 9/11 will always be marked in my heart.

  4. It's complicated for us folks living in Massachusetts because we already have Patriots Day as an our-state-only holiday. So now we have deal to explaining the difference between the two. And Boston has a holiday called Evacuation Day, which marks when the British left the city.

    Weirdness ... especially for an Upstate NY native like myself.

  5. Strange-- I think that day affected a lot more people than some people in the US realize. And it continues to affect all of us, too.

    Matt-- that would be confusing! Were you still in NY when 9/11 happened, or had you already transplanted?