So, it’s 11 September, again. Eleven years since the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks and the aborted attack that went down in Pennsylvania. When the world, and particularly, the U.S., changed. Many have their memorials and commemorations for those who perished that day. I generally observe the day simply by sharing one of my favorite and most apt quotes attributed to Benjamin Franklin (“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”), and sometimes, something strikes me enough to noodle about it in a blog post. Like this one.
I use the Franklin quote as a reminder of what and how we changed that day, not for the better in many respects, which I will not go into nor feel like debating here. What I am thinking about more generally is anniversaries. When “bad stuff” happens, I have trouble relating to the need to commemorate on the specific date. Maybe my sense of detachment from the calendar (it’s just an agreed-upon organization of days) is why. But where did that detachment come from?
When I was a child, holidays were never huge deals. We didn’t do Christmas on the date, and birthdays were pretty much ignored. Thanksgiving was the only holiday we did regularly and on the traditional day. Also had an ex who used to shut down every February because of “bad stuff” that had happened to her in Februarys past, and I refused to be like that. Sure, December 2008/January 2009 and October/November 2010 were probably two of the worst periods in my life, and the latter broke much of my functionality for a long time, but I don’t think about it every autumn and refuse to do things because of it. Also, Toni and I, for various reasons, have moved celebrations of our anniversary and birthdays to more convenient times for as long as I can remember. And we’ve long agreed we like to show how much we love each other every day and not save things for an anniversary.
N.B., I am not saying anyone who ties things to dates is wrong, merely noodling to try to understand why in general that I do not.
I’m not sure if I lack an attachment to the calendar because I haven’t generally used it for commemoration, or vice versa, though I suspect it’s the former. And as far as 11 September is concerned, how can the effects of the events of that day not be remembered every single day of the year?