The Rising

11 Sep

Today is the ninth anniversary of 9/11, and people continue to feel pain, grief, outrage, and anger over the loss of loved ones and an attack on the city that embodies so much of what Americans love about their country.  No American — and no citizen of the world — has remained untouched by the after effects of 9/11.

Before I became friends with D. I hadn’t known anyone who’d been in New York when the Trade Centers were attacked, and after we became friends I hesitated to ask him because I didn’t know what he’d experienced, and I didn’t want to stir up painful memories.  A year ago, I worked up the courage to ask D. what it was like to be in New York City on 9/11.  I asked him to write about it, if he could, and he told me he would.

I don’t remember how long it took him to write out his memories or what he told me when he sent them to me.  The only thing I remember is sitting at my computer, sobbing openly as I read his account of the events of 9/11 [and the days following it].

D.’s writing is a perfect example of the mixed emotions that so many Americans felt, and still feel, about 9/11.  His language is clear, concise, and absolutely devastating in its raw emotion — and he does not offer any answers or simple solutions.  Instead, he lays it all out there and leaves it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions.

After I’d read this piece several times, I asked D. for permission to share it with my students and my family, and he agreed.  I am sharing it here, today, in hopes that this powerful piece of writing will serve as a reminder that when working toward tolerance and understanding, we need to consider not only the communities, but also the individual experiences and feelings that were the result of this tragedy — on all sides of the issue.

Since I didn’t write this piece myself, I have created a separate page for the essay and the photo that D. took last year of spotlights aimed into the inky New York City sky, illuminating the space where the Trade Centers used to stand.

9/11: DMT’s Story

May peace be with you — and with us all.

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