I am a glutton for depression. I have been watching MSNBC’s three hour tape of the nation’s 9/11 tragedy that was visited upon us 14 years ago today. That bright crystal clear blue-sky gorgeous day in Boston betrayed the dark events which enveloped us and the world and, to this day, still do.
Two events in my life’s historical memory have synaptic connections that are, I hope, as strong as iron. The first is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the second is 9/11. Through the diminishment of memory by age and through the onslaught of physical impairment by time, those events, for me cannot be erased. They are seared into my soul never to be forgotten. To my last breath I will remember them.
The Holocaust which, thank fate, I did not personally witness but the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attack on the World Trade Towers with all the events surrounding 9/11 I did. I can remember the details of both events like none else in my life. I remember the time, I remember where I was, I remember who was with me and I remember a flood of other minutiae of memory one might forget but for the catastrophic nature of those events that were visited upon our nation and the world at that time.
I have watched endless documentaries explaining it all. Many do not understand why I watch these again and again which remind me of those perilous, sad days and provoke not only a feeling of depressive powerlessness but also evoke the lingering question I have always asked with respect to man’s inhumanity to man – Why?
The only way I can, as a person who does not set policy, but who still is able to raise a voice in objection to the nasty and the brutish Hobbsian characterization of life is to remember, historically, what has happened.
The better angels of our nature must prevail and decry senseless violence that begets only more violence. We must remember those most impactful events which sear our collective souls and instruct us to find a better way. We must listen, we must talk, we must try to understand those who oppose us and engage in discourse to try to understand why.
We must remember the words of those whom I think said it better than I ever could -- John Kennedy: “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.” The US should strive by always remembering these historically horrific events and those who died in them so that, as Abraham Lincoln memorialized in the Gettysburg Address masterpiece “we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain.” We must remember so that the proverbial admonition by Edmund Burke that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it, does not, again, ring true.