I stand by my stance that I said everything that I wanted to say about September 11th in my post on the 3rd anniversary back in 2004.
Perhaps it’s because I remember what James Lileks wrote 3 years after 9/11:
I have less to say on the fourth anniversary, because I’m not sure what needs to be said. You get it or you don’t, and if the passage of time has made the lessons indistinct, a picture of that September morning will look as remote as a screen grab from “Tora Tora Tora.”
I wish they’d build it again. The same two towers. Because we can. Because they can’t.
Other memories still persist:
I remember the Eulogy of FDNY Captain Francis J. Callahan:
I’ve been told Frank enjoyed a practical joke. We never joked together. Rarely laughed. We never sought out each other’s company on days off. We never went golfing or fishing. We never went for a hike in the Shawangunk Mountains together. We were often happier apart than we ever were together because we shared the nightmares of command.
We shared problems. We shared stress. We shared dark thoughts that are now front-page news. Incredulous at the failures of leadership that have borne fruit. We shared the proposition of a time and place where few would dare to go. He went there because it was his turn. He called his wife, Angie, before he received his orders to respond. He told her what was going on. He told her things didn’t look good; he told her he loved her.
I know what you all did, you got your gear on, found a tool, wrote your name or Social Security number in felt tip pen on your arm or a leg, a crisis tattoo in case you got found.
We went down there knowing things could go badly. We stayed until we were exhausted, got three hours sleep and went back again, and again. That’s what comrades do. Only luck and circumstance separate us from them.
I remember what James Lileks posted in 2003, on the 2nd anniversary of 9/11:
Two years ago today I was convinced that every presumption I had about the future was wrong. This war, I feared, would be horrible, total, and long.
Two years later I take a certain grim comfort in some people’s disinterest in the war; if you’d told me two years ago that people would be piling on the President and bitching about slow progress in Iraq, I would have known in a second that the nation hadn’t suffered another attack. When the precise location of Madonna’s tongue is big news, you can bet the hospitals aren’t full of smallpox victims.
I remember watching people jump from the top floors of the World Trade Center – because they were faced with certain death, and chose to end their lives in their own way.
I remember my first visit to Ground Zero three months after the attack – seeing the devastation, seeing and smelling the fire and smoke, and trying to understand how that happened.
I remember my first visit to the Pentagon, standing amid the rebuilt section in the temporary chapel (before the current 9/11 memorial was built), at the point where the plane had entered the building – an incredibly quiet and somber place.
And I remember FDNY Lt. Ray Murphy.
I’ll always remember.