Friday, September 11, 2015

Back When Sue St. Therese Had It All...

There are simply too many people to ever know them all,
to unravel all of their secrets.
Nobody in such a vast and various place can absorb everything.
You know the people you love and the people with whom you work,
the rest is glimpses.  And on certain days, yes, 
You want to live forever...
- Pete Hamill 
"Downtown:  My Manhattan"

Fourteen years ago today - a bright, sunny September Tuesday morning - dawned in the New York metropolitan area as one of those "I want to live forever" kind of days of which Pete Hamill wrote.  By 8:46 a.m., it had been transformed into a day on which far too many good people - innocents all - would not only not live forever, they would not live to see the day's end.

I am fortunate.  I am a man whose life was affected only indirectly by September 11, 2001.  By that I mean simply that my life was affected only to the degree that the life of each of us who lost neither a family member nor a friend that day was affected.  What we feel is a sense of loss, I suppose, but it is nothing approaching the very real, very tangible loss experienced by the families of those who were killed that day.  

For the past thirty days or so in this space, I have chronicled - on a very superficial level - the life of a person who died on September 11, 2001.  I did so this year - as I have done for the past several years - because I believe quite a lot in the words of Thornton Wilder, "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning."   For those of us - like me - who were not directly impacted by that day's events - who did not have to bury a loved one killed that day or, perhaps even worse, did not have to hold a memorial service for one killed that day whose body was never recovered - it is this date's annual appearance on the calendar that moves this particular day to the forefront of our minds.  For families directly impacted by the events of that terrible day, its position in their minds' forefront is etched in stone.  I am a man of decidedly limited abilities and powers.  I am not Ray Kinsella.  I lack the wherewithal to ease their pain.  

Although - I assure you - it is not for lack of effort.  

Today - if you are a person who is fortunate enough to have not lost a family member or a friend on this very day fourteen years ago, then try to spare a moment - or perhaps two - and think not of the number of people who were killed that day but, rather, of the individual threads that when woven together comprised this particular tapestry.  One should not measure tragedy merely in terms of arithmetic.  For depth and breadth may not in fact be able to be appropriately measured arithmetically.  

Never Forget.  Not Today.  Not Tomorrow.  Not Ever.  Not Any Single One.



1 comment:

Judith Pack said...

Mr. Kenny, your individual tributes to those lost on 9-11 has been a truly emotional part of each day. Putting faces to this tragedy is so important. While I did not know anyone personally involved in this horrific event, I will always remember that day, those lost and the loved ones they left behind. I remember watching the reports come in that morning, and thinking that life as we know it would be forever changed. My daughter and I hugged and cried. How very, very fortunate I am that I could do that, and how very sad for those who could never do that again. They will be in my thoughts today, and forever.