For a website named "AcademicsOnly.org," this is the least ostensibly academic post you might see.
I once saw a photo of a 35-year old man defiantly showing a tattoo on his big upper arm that read "9-11-2002 -- Never Forget." Right date; wrong year. But I don't think anyone was going to tell him that.
Today's the 20th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the American World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This was a defining moment for many Americans, as in "Where were you when you heard about World Trade Center being attacked?" Since it was so defining, it's curious why its 20th Anniversary seems to be slipping by so quietly.
One exception of this that's most vivid to me came in the form of a poem that a friend wrote a couple weeks ago and sent to me. It was written by Michael Antunes who is the Top 40 rock saxophonist (On the Dark Side, Tender Years) and actor (Eddie and the Cruisers). Michael said I could share it.
There are a lot of themes associated with 9-11: Heroism, innocent lives lost, reversals of fortune, resilience, and so on. There's a lot to memorialize, a lot to remember, and a lot to celebrate.
While I wish I saw more unified or institutional efforts to do so, it's also important that we take the individual initiative -- like Michael did -- to memorialize, remember, or celebrate in a way that is personally meaningful to us and to those we share it with.
Thinking back to the "Never Forget" 9-11 tattoo that had the wrong year on it, I'm no longer convinced that our deliberate, individual efforts at memorizing, remembering, or celebrating have to be on the right day or even have to have the exact year right. What's most important is that we do it in a way that's meaningful and memorable to us.
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