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In Remembrance of 9/11

Since my last entry, I suffered another concussion, culminating in 5 concussions within 6 years. Although my brain has attempted to forget, I can Never Forget 9/11; I am just sadly unable to craft the post I planned. But not even a brain injury can stop me from honoring New York City and those who have passed away.

If you do want to remember the day, I suggest two things. One, you should see Come From Away or read my published opinion piece in the Washington Examiner.

Out of all the 9/11 dedicated media, Come From Away is my recommendation. Originally a Broadway musical and recorded on Apple TV+, the musical embodies hope, generosity, and empathy for friends and strangers alike. Come From Away first began its run in 2017 and became streamable on September 10th, 2021; the live audience which filled the theatre was composed of 9/11 survivors and front-line workers.

The article attached below was originally posted by The Washington Examiner in 2019. The young Faith who wrote this piece struggled with the concept of rereading her work, so I have since done some editing. Enjoy.

Faith Duggan

This is the first day in 18 years that I didn’t spend 9/11 in NYC.

The first time nothing took place at my school. The first time that people didn’t bring it up. The first time that people seemingly forgot what happened today years ago.

And why would they? My peers and I were born the year that it happened, and some weren’t even born yet.

As I stepped onto the elevator in my friend’s dorm room earlier this week, I saw a sign for an art event; I looked at the time and date, Wednesday, September 11th, at 7:47 pm.

9/11 at 7:47.7-4-7.

The Resident Adviser in that building made a joke about one of the most tragic days in recent US history. I showed this to my friends, and none of them picked up on this. None of my New England-grown friends realized the significance of the time or date, and I was forced to explain it to them. The minute I saw the date, my stomach twisted, the insensitivity of that joke, the careless nature, but then I realized that the majority of the students at this small liberal arts school haven’t grown up in a city where it is very much alive.

I was raised by a parent who saw the second plane kill hundreds of people. I’ve heard her say, “The second plane hitting was like an optical illusion,” or “I had to walk from downtown to the Upper East Side to get you,” or “I went to check on my friend, and he was covered in the ash of the dead.”

The crazy part is that at 4 months old, I watched the second plane; I watched the news over and over, the plane, the people running, the ash rising from the top, and then imploding in. It was a nice day, people were voting that morning until the unthinkable.

As the years went by, I would hear how Mr. C was running late for work but stopped to vote first and survived because of it. Or how a girl missed school every year because her dad was one of the thousands, and years later, during a field trip at the 9/11 memorial museum, we all saw her dad’s name written on the wall.

Now, I can’t stop thinking about the voicemail one man left on his wife’s machine saying goodbye, saying he loved her. I can’t stop thinking about the videos of people jumping out of a skyscraper to avoid the pain of the fire. I can’t stop thinking about how people watched them. I can’t stop thinking about how many people, specifically emergency personnel, are still dying from lung inhalation today. I can’t forget when tv shows talk about it.

While 18 years have passed, NYC and New Yorkers near and far will Never Forget because it’s ingrained in our everyday life, even if we don’t feel it. It has affected who we are and how we act on this day.

During history courses in High School, had a moment of silence. But now, the non-New Yorkers sitting next to me are talking about Justin Beber and Lizzo, but I can only remember the ash on people’s faces, the soot in the air, the phone calls, the smell of burnt flesh, the videos of people jumping, the crumpling of the buildings, and the skyline. I missed something I have never experienced, and yet it is part of who I am.

I can Never Forget, and I was never old enough to remember.

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