On This Day

Today is the 12th anniversary of September 11th. As if you didn’t already know.

Our principal announced that this day is now referred to as Patriot’s Day. I’m trying to remember if I knew that already. Did we call it that last year?

Today social media is flooded with pictures and sentiments about this day. There will be a lot of “We will never forget”s scrawled across waving American flags and silhouettes of the twin towers.

And I will absolutely be avoiding it at all costs.

We all deal with national tragedy differently. Tragedies affect people in different ways. The more obvious manifestation of that is the fact that actual tragedy affects the people where it happened more profoundly than those who were far away. More subtly, every person is uniquely affected, no matter where they were or what happened to them specifically that day. And, understandably, we all process our feelings in unique ways. Grief is not uniform and everyone grapples with tragedy differently.

I am not the kind of person that wants to post a waving flag or silhouette of the two towers on my FB page. I absolutely support those who do, but I hope I am not judged for choosing not to or for opting out of Liking or commenting on them. I hope we can all remember that everyone processes these anniversaries differently. There is no right, or appropriate way. My response should not be judged as a representation of my patriotism. The differences in what I do and what you do does not signify some deep chasm between us. We are both doing exactly the same thing: precisely what we personally need to do to process this day.

I don’t write this post because I feel I’ve been judged or attacked for my actions (or lack thereof); I write it because I notice the difference in my reaction compared to the reactions of others and I notice how uneasy it makes me feel, wondering if others notice it too. I write this because I want to assure others who feel similarly that they are not alone and that the way the way they feel is absolutely okay.

If scrolling through a million 9/11 updates makes you uncomfortable, if you’ll be abstaining from all the articles shared, if you’re going to do your best to avoid talking about it you’re not alone. And there is nothing wrong with you either.

8 responses

  1. It was called Patriot’s Day last year, and I think it has been since the early 2000’s. This day is always strange for me, too, as it’s one of my sister’s birthdays. No judgment coming from me on how you do or do not respond to today.

  2. Thanks for this. I feel the same, or perhaps a shade worse in that I get rather eye-rolly at overtly patriotic or sentimental things. Not that I’m not patriotic or not remembering and honoring it in my own way. Waving flags and crying eagles and even pictures of the actual event to me just take away from the solemnity. We all experienced that day, but the memory of it is more private to me.

  3. I did not know September 11th was Patriot’s Day.

    Every year, I read Sars from Tomato Nation’s account of 9/11, and I lower our flag to half-mast. It was a sad, terrible day and I dread its anniversary.

    I totally respect how you or anyone chooses to mark (or not mark) today. No judgement here, either.

  4. I hoped to avoid marking it much, but we went to the pharmacy for flu shots and the flag was at half staff so I had to explain it to the 5 year old (first why the flag was low, then why not all the way down, then what it was lowered for anyway). For me it’s more about the aftermath and my friends who’ve gone to war and come home mostly all right but sometimes slightly damaged, or not come back at all, and I prefer to keep that all private.

    I am all about everyone quietly remembering. Thanks for the reminder that it’s all right.

  5. I was out of the country when it happened and so somewhat distanced from it. For us, it was a tragedy when it happened, but after a few weeks we moved on. Like a school shooting or an earthquake or something. It didn’t have the same quality of being in its own category of tragedies. For a long time it was weird to me to see Americans marking the anniversary at all. So, do what you feel is best.

  6. I’ll admit I didn’t focus on or prepare for “Patriot’s Day” at all this year- I rarely have the TV on so didn’t see any of the remembrance coverage, and like you, got most of my remembrances from FB posts and memes. And then there’s my own Sept 11 tragedy anniversary, which I’m still not exactly sure how to process.

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