While scrolling through my Twitter feed this morning, I encountered an overwhelming amount of people complaining about having to face a “yearly reminder” of 9/11, as if 9/11 were an awkward junior high school phase or an embarrassing Facebook photo shoved at the end of an album, with the vast hope of never resurfacing.
I think I’ll start this rant by reminding the general public that they have the ability to avoid social media on this, or any other, day. We have all accepted that people have the right to post whatever they want, like it or not; what makes today any different?
There are components of September 11, 2001 that my 9-year-old self filed away into the permanent memory archives. It’s like a stop-motion film buried in the depths of my head that resurrects itself during this time of year.
Sometimes remembering it feels too fuzzy, too bizarre, too extreme to be real. The panic, the uncertainty, the confusion that plagued every home during the day of, and the days following, the attack. Watching my city fall to its knees, and more importantly, watching it pick itself back up. It feels too heavy to be real, but it is real. It happened, and forcing ourselves to forget isn’t going to change that.
If people want to rid their day of the “yearly reminder” of the struggle and sacrifice our city and its heroes endured, that’s their choice. It’s not one I agree with, but it’s one I have to respect.
Remembering is how I commemorate. Remembering is how I grieve. People have the right to take care of themselves however they need to today and in the years to come, but they should not try to impose their means of doing so on anyone else. And we should never invalidate how anyone chooses to remember — or not remember, this day. It’s a tough one for all New Yorkers, but we have to face it with as much sensitivity as possible in order to get through.