I may have been confused about the day when I wrote yesterday’s blog, but there’s no mistaking September 11th. As I opened up the window to write this blog, I wondered what I might write about. But the minute I filled in the posting date, the topic became clear.
I used to work at the World Trade Center, in Building 7, the last one to pancake into a pile of rubble sixteen years ago. The first time they tried to bomb the World Trade Center, I felt our building shudder, saw the smoke emerging from the parking garage entrance, walked down 46 flights of stairs with my frightened colleagues.
But after two years of working in that place, I knew its geography intimately. So when the news reports started coming in on September 11th, I could picture it clear as day. The pockmarked white marble walls, the back stairs, the shortcuts that might have taken some people to safety. Until they pancaked too.
A lot changed on September 11th, so much more than the New York City skyline. One of my friends became a Republican, worried that the Democrats would compromise our safety. Xenophobia came out of the closet on September 11th and it’s only grown stronger since. My Republican friend is not a xenophobe—and didn’t vote for Trump—but many others are. And did.
As determined as we were not to “let the terrorists win,” the America we live in today is not the same country I grew up in, not the same country we were on September 10th—or even September 12th—sixteen years ago.
Me, I’ll be taking a social media break today. I can’t stand to see my feeds stuffed with waving flags and “Never Forget” admonitions.
I don’t need the reminder, thanks.
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