Whatever floats your boat...
In the intervening decade I have not read any of the hundreds of books written about it or watched any of the documentary or Hollywood movies made about it, because even after ten years I still don’t have enough emotional distance from the event to examine it without grief.
But now that I’m being dragged into the memory of it by the recollections of so many around me, I’m finding that it’s not a bad thing to remember, because if I separate my memories of the early days of the event from all that followed afterwards, some of what I remember is poignantly beautiful.
Within just a few days of the fall of the towers, I saw this item listed on eBay: it was a drawing by a five-year old boy in Germany of his vision of a peaceful world. He asked his father to place it on auction to raise money for the victims of 911. Back in that day, it was an easy thing for eBay account holders to email other eBayers, and I wrote to that little boy in my best high school German to thank him for his kindness.
His father wrote back to me, telling me that my command of German was better than his five-year old’s so he was writing on his son’s behalf to thank me back. He said his son, Mauritz, had been deeply affected by 911 and that if the drawing sold for anything, even a few dollars, it would help his son feel less powerless in a world where such things can happen.
I placed a small bid on the drawing and watched the auction everyday until it ended. I no longer remember what it sold for, but I do remember that it was several hundred dollars.
So on this day when I am remembering smoke and firemen’s helmets and blackened towers and rubble, I am also remembering that boy, Mauritz, who witnessed an act of mass violence on the other side of the world and then rose to the occasion by acting, in his small way, to fight the darkness.