I came across a great way to translate 9/11 memories into action by James Lileks in Brian Dunbar’s “Remember”
But move forward, too.
Light a candle, yes.
But also drive a rivet.
It’s from a longer post Lileks wrote on Sep-13-2004 looking back on 9/11. Here are the closing paragraphs.
I had thought about 9/11 when I got up. […]
But move forward, too. Light a candle, yes. But also drive a rivet.
The block is old enough to have suffered the first wave of Dutch Elm Disease, years ago. You can tell: the south end of the block is still a little light on foliage. You can tell: now and then a square of sidewalk has a circular indentation that marks the spot where once a massive ancient elm trunk stood. The tree’s gone; the accommodation remains. Even the stump has faded back into the earth.
There are three giant elms on the block. Two wear the fatal orange stripe, indicating they have been infected. One’s on the east side, one’s one the west. They are the tent poles around which the party lights are wound. In the next few months the crews will arrive and bring them down. Three days, at most – one to shave the fractal branches, one to carve the thick limbs, one to sunder the trunk and feed it to the chipper.
“How are we going to string the lights next year?” my old next-door neighbor wondered as we discussed the plight of the trees. He shrugged and took a pull off his beer.
“We’ll figure out something,” he said.
Then we had burgers and chips and beer and watched the children run and laugh in the shadows. Is it too much to believe it will be this good next year? No. And that’s something
Hell, that’s everything.
Tim Bonneman wrote in yesterday to recommend the documentary 9/11 which I highly recommend as well. It was shot by a French film crew that was following a new fireman (a “probie”) as they went about their normal business. Except that they get called to the Twin Towers. Tim said it was “a remarkable story and a rare historic document” and I agree.
Another documentary I remember detailed the incredible resilience of average New Yorkers as they dealt with the many challenges in the days and weeks after the atrocity. They reached out to form all kinds of ad hoc support organizations that helped get people the resources and medical care that they needed. I believe that it was shown on A&E but I have not been able to find a DVD version. I welcome any suggestions for a title or a place to view it or buy it on DVD. I would like to watch it again.
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