First Time Away From New York on 9/11 – Missing Bagpipes

This is the first 9/11  since the 9/11 that I have not spent in the City.  (I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you which one.)

I don’t particularly like 9/11 in the City.  I live a block or so from Ground Zero.  It is a somber difficult place on the anniversary, full of detours and no-crossing barricades.  The only thing good are the bagpipes.

There is always the question of whether or not to go to the ceremonies.  I usually just listen to the bagpipes–the sound travels–and then don’t go, or if I do, it is by chance, walking past the site to work while some of the names are being read.

This is not because I don’t respect the names or the day.  I simply find them too sad.

I realize this evening that I have never been away before because on every other 9/11 I’ve had a child living in the City, and I’ve felt, silently, that I could not risk being away from a place and time that reverberates with crisis if one of my children is there.

I know that if something (something else) happened, I would not necessarily be able to help my children, no matter how many cars mothers are supposed to be able to lift.   But there it is–something that 9/11 has left with me, not only the sense of past loss, the understanding of potential loss.

Away from the City, there is television coverage.  It too is sad–the footage of the actual day completely intolerable– but also maddening–actual commemoration nearly outweighed by posturing, schmaltz, sensation.   With only the barest wheedle of bagpipes.  Bagpipes are really not the same on tape.

For a poem (a villanelle) about 9/11 and also children, click here.

Explore posts in the same categories: 9/11, Uncategorized

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