I struggle when I reflect on September 11th.
In many ways I’ve moved on, taking with me everything that I have learned. A lot about the world. A lot about myself.
I struggle when I reflect because I often feel like I don’t need to. I tell myself that I’ve remembered enough.
Somewhere in my mind I know that the true purpose of reflection is not to remember. Instead the true purpose is to learn. For that reason, I’m not going to move on as quickly today. Instead I’m going to write it down as I reflect. To share what I remember and what has led to many lessons learned.
I remember a daze that lasted for a long time. It started the moment I turned on the television and saw one tower ablaze. I’m not sure how long it lasted, but it may have been weeks. It didn’t seem that things could be allowed to go back to normal.
I remember silent sky. The eeriness of a world in which there is no air travel.
I remember community. An instant bond with people around the country. Especially that morning, while everybody was still trying to figure out what had just happened, business went on while people shared dazed observations.
I remember calling my friend Alan in New York to make sure he was okay. I hadn’t spoken to him in almost a year, but I felt the need to try. I remember being amazed that already, just several hours after the attack, he was reassuring me that New York was strong enough to handle this.
I remember Peter Jennings. Until then I had no attachment to television news. Jennings became my news anchor. He spoke to me during those days and he did a damn good job.
I remember anger. Anger at the hijackers. Anger at the world for failing one another. Anger at reactions against the wrong people.
I remember a strange fear. Fear that it happened, not that it would happen again. A fear of what would come next because it had happened.
I remember Ryan Adams and New York, New York. I remember seeing the video for the first time, sitting in my apartment with my friend Chuck. I think I remember both of us being speechless.
It’s strange. The things that you remember, the things you don’t. The new things that you will remember the next time you reflect.
However strange, it’s probably good to do it every once and a while. To take those reflections and those memories and to learn from them. To never stop remembering, but to especially never stop learning.