Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget?

Ten years ago, I was in the middle of my morning homeschool routine with our then five and six year olds. A friend called me and told me I needed to turn on the television because she knew I wouldn't have it on at that time of day and that I wouldn't know what was happening. She was right. I turned it on just seconds before the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

I will never forget that moment. Or that day. How can I?

In some ways, it's hard to believe ten years have passed since the day we will always know as 9/11. Yet, for those families who suffered losses of loved ones, I'm sure it feels differently. Life as we knew it -- both here and abroad -- hasn't been the same since, and yet I admit...I'm kind of put off by the sentiment, "Never forget."

Like it would be possible to forget?

How can I forget the destruction I witnessed as it was happening? That isn't an image that leaves you.

How can I forget the aftermath, not just to our country, but personally? Had it not been for 9/11, I wouldn't have been awake as early as I was on 9/12, at which time I happened upon something that was going on within our family that turned out to be the beginning of many years of heartache. 9/12 was, in effect, my own personal 9/11, the aftermath of which has been no less tragic.

More recently, how can I forget that had it not been for 9/11, my oldest son most likely wouldn't have spent seven months in Afghanistan this year, where he sustained injuries when he was caught in an IED explosion? Thankfully, his injuries were not severe. But every time I see the scars on his face and left arm, I'll remember that day and the reason for it. How can I forget it?

Truthfully, I would like to be able to forget the pain that was wrought on 9/11, both directly and indirectly. Being told to not forget it seems to imply there is a benefit to holding on to that pain, to not letting go of the horror, to nurture it in some way so that it is always there. How is that at all helpful to anyone?

It may seem a matter of semantics, but I believe it would be more productive to encourage people to "always remember"...remember what happened. Learn from it. Make positive changes to try to avoid it in the future. Remember it enough that we can take something edifying from the ashes. But the pain, the anguish, the raw images? They'll never completely go away, even if we wanted them to. I don't think we need to nourish them beyond that.


TheShimeks said...

Lisa, We always think of you during this time and wonder how you are doing! Life goes day at a time.... Any thoughts of a biography ..... 10 years later? What an inspiration you are......thank you for sharing your story and your status!! God Bless! The Shimeks, Pearland Tx

Lisa B. said...

I think you have me confused with the other Lisa Beamer, the one whose husband Todd died in Shanksville. That's not me.

Anonymous said...

Hey...what happened to you? Are you okay these days! I see this was your last post! I'd hope you come back soon! I knit a lot myself! I make prayer shawls, and squares for ♥♥♥

Lisa B. said...

I'm still around! I just mainly post over at the blog. I thought I could keep up with both, but there just isn't enough time in the day! ;)