Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts on 9/11

Every time 9/11 rolls by I feel pressure to say something profound at least once during the day. I feel that, as a New Yorker, I have a duty to stop what I'm doing, reflect, and put everything together so it makes sense. I haven't been able to for the past eight years and this one shouldn't be any different.

Truth is, for some reason unknown to me, in the past few years I have been thinking about 9/11 again. A lot. It has been showing up in my dreams and thoughts regularly and I can't seem to figure out why. One of my theories is that the scale of everything has more of a context as I get older. Perhaps it's me moving out to Chicago. Who knows.

I think that as far as being a New Yorker who experienced 9/11 goes I'm up there with the luckiest. I didn't know anyone who passed away. Not a soul. I didn't have to worry about my own family for one instant because I knew they were safe for the entire day. Still, I feel grief about what happened to my city. I feel guilty about feeling grief when nothing actually happened to me or anyone I know. It's complicated.

9/11 was tough. Post 9/11 New York was tougher. I had to sit back and watch as my city changed dramatically every day in ways I really couldn't fully understand. Suddenly everyone had new values. New fears. Nothing felt comfortable. The worst part? Not a soul talked about how uncomfortable and scared we were. I don't think I even knew how uncomfortable and scared I was. I am 100% convinced that my friends and I dwelling around the Lower East Side as 11 year olds have been effected by this shift tremendously. I am not sure how, but I really feel we are. 

There is one thing I have taken from 9/11 that I will not budge on. Violence is deplorable. In any shape or form. I swear to god that if I were put in a room with a loaded gun and the men who shaped together this attack against my own city, tied up in a chair, completely helpless, I would do nothing. Revenge is foolish. Violence is fucking cyclical. It is our responsibilities as the rational, humane individuals we claim to be to absorb some of that hate (no matter how much it hurts) and never act on it. That is how the chain is broken. I think we as a country do not do a very good job at this but I'm honored to say that my friends and I, as individuals, do a great goddamned job at this.

If someone is punched in the face for being who he is there are a few ways he can handle it. He can punch back. He can get up and change who he is, preventing any future punches. He can get up and exaggerate who he is and get punched even more, possibly harder. Or, he can be a man. He can be a man, get up and be the exact same fucking person he was when he got knocked down. That's what we need to do. That's what I'm doing.

To end this on a somewhat humorous (but respectful) note I give you the following clip. When I first saw it I remember smiling and thinking "hey, that's exactly right" and every time I watch it I think the same thing. It's a little harsh and may contradict a few points I raised in this post but the ending is dead on, exactly how I feel. That may or not be a good thing but I'm sure as shit proud of it. 

I wish you all the best.


daniel said...

very nice kevy wevy.

i, too, think about it a lot. maybe once a month or so, i wikipedia something about it and i start reading all of the articles linked to it...similar to your youtubing related videos.

Carlos Galarza said...

Kevin. I've known you for about 6 years or so. And youtube has been around for a long while. But I mean this with the highest honor I can give. That was the greatest clip I have ever seen. If my roommate wasn't watching with me I would have cried. I'll probably cry later thinking about it. As soon as the design that won was the same thing I got chills. FUCK YOU TERRORISTS. YOU MIGHT HAVE TOUCHED US BUT YOU DIDN'T MOVE US.

And just like when the Japanese touched us, what happens, you get fucked... for eight years.

daniel said...

oh yeah. one other thing. i have a daily internet ritual which i'm sure you have many of. mine is i check gertrude baines' wikipedia page. she was the oldest woman in the world. until today. i had been checking on her for about a year since she surpassed the last oldest person.
she died today. she died on september 11th. she was halfway through her 115th year. dammit. AND she was african american. and she loved bacon.

Kevin Patrick Gannon said...

Holy shit man, that's insanity. Did you check it just to see if she was still alive?

Daniel Rutkowski said...