by Marinka on September 8, 2011

On Monday night, I watched “Children of 9/11” on NBC. I knew it would be painful, but as with all things connected to 9/11 I have yet to strike the balance between preserving my heart and my sanity and honoring the people whose lives have been shattered by not looking away.

It’s fallacious reasoning.

It doesn’t matter to the children who have lost their parents if I’m watching or not.

But to me it matters.

It matters that I share, however minutely, in the pain.

I’ve written about this before.

But I haven’t told you about how a few weeks before September 11, 2001, we were at my parents’ dacha talking about the Holocaust. Because what else are you supposed to do on a beautiful summer night if not discuss the horrors of Nazi Germany?

We were talking about how soon all the Holocaust survivors will be gone. How in a generation, the Holocaust deniers will be stronger, have more ammunition. How we will have no one among us who will roll up his sleeve, casually, because it is too warm, and reveal a tattoo across the arm, reminding everyone in proximity what had happened. Just by being.

Of course we are not going to forget September 11th. Not in our lifetime and not in our children’s.

But it’s going to happen eventually.

And that’s terrifying.

One year ago ...

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up)
September 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

I know exactly what you mean…there are so many really important things to remember that become seriously neglected.

I like this deep post from you. You should do that more often.


DawnA September 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

Heart breaking and I can’t imagine the pain and suffering. I think part of the problem is a if you are not in close proximity to the devastation you don’t really feel the “aftershock.” I live/work in the DC area and I think many on the East Coast had a very different experience on 9/11. I believe the same holds true for war and many other tragic experiences. There are many moving documentaries/interviews on all of these subjects and seeing the people talk about those horrible times makes it much more real for me. Let’s hope if schools aren’t teaching this parents will help their kids realize what an integral part of our history all of these events play.


Megan September 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

Maybe not. Too many bore witness to 9/11. We have video of almost everything that happened, as it happened. And all that new construction in Lower Manhattan will be a constant reminder.

I don’t think we’ll fully forget the Holocaust either; there are too many people dedicated to making sure we don’t.

I pray neither of these tragedies slips away from consciousness.


September 8, 2011 at 11:26 am

Don’t ever mock the leg pit. Bad things happen to those who do.


Polish Mama on the Prairie
September 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

You’ve never made me tear up before, never made me remember sorrow. Thank you.

We must never forget either. But soon, you are right, there will no longer be the casual daily reminders and only the memories and the rewriters of history. And we have to remember so that we can raise our voices in reminder and keeping history true.

I’m hugging you for writing this.


Melissa A. September 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the ‘deny’ part. I guess I’ll have to look into it, read up on their logic, evidence, etc. It’s rather possible that I’ll spontaneously combust from the ridiculousness. Alas, people are already forgetting our own terrorism, Oklahoma City. We never hear about it anymore, in April?? Sad…very sad.


Jenn September 8, 2011 at 11:43 am

There have been so many significant events in history that have long been forgotten. Many stories that never got told. I hear of holocaust survivors telling their stories to children in schools, this is something I love. Let the stories live on in their hearts and teach them something about life. I don’t think it’s important to remember the horror or sorrow, I think it’s important to remember the strength that came from these tragic events.
Great post!


Miss Britt
September 8, 2011 at 11:45 am

You just made me proud to be a writer, blogger, documenter, storyteller, WHATEVER.

Because no, no one will be around to roll up their sleeves – but their stories will be retold because, in part, of people like you. People like us.


September 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

This makes me sad. Both that eventually there will be no more Holocaust survivors and that one day, people will forget 9/11. Or it will be just another story in a history book.


September 8, 2011 at 11:59 am

I will never forget. Even now, 10 years later, every day I look up and wonder if that’s the plane that’s going to crash into something. Every single day.

And I wasn’t even in NYC.

But I’ve told my big girls the story of that day, and I’ll keep telling them so that they can tell their kids.


Mary September 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Nicely written.

I struggle with how to remember and give appropriate weight to Sept 11, but not get bogged down with the heaviness of loss and sorrow. I also wonder how I will explain to my young children the inexplicable motivations of the terrorists and the consquential loss of life. While the next generation may not have memories of the day itself (or the holocaust, either), it’s, of course, important that we pass on these stories so that we can continue to learn from the horrible events.


dusty earth mother September 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I feel this keenly, and I believe God gave certain people the gift of words so that they can write about such things, ensuring that they will not be forgotten. The written word has a different weight than the visual of a casually rolled-up sleeve, to be sure, but its weight is definitely felt by those who care. Care to read, care to remember. You are someone who cares, which is why I visit you every day. And today was a very moving visit. xxoo


September 8, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I have a huge lump in my throat.

Because there is such a detachment when something becomes history.

Thank you for this post.


lindsey September 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm



Beth September 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Amazing post.

And this is why I really wish I found a teaching job right out of grad school-but I didn’t. I was in the 8th grade when 9/11 happened, and I really wished I had my own middle schoolers this year to do a few lessons on 9/11. They are already a generation that doesn’t fully get it, simply because they were so young when it happened. I want them to have my perspective and understand what 9/11 was like at their age.


Phoenix Rising
September 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Thank you. Because we need to be reminded.


Heather September 8, 2011 at 6:20 pm

It may not be forgotten because it’s such a significant event for our country, but certainly it will be diminished. Just like the horror of the Holocaust is somewhat diminished with each passing generation. We can watch quality documentaries and feel a level of the horror and pain, but never truly feel it, if that makes sense.

I’ve been reading about the French Revolution in school and it is very striking how human history seems to be on a spiraling continuum. The only thing that gives me hope is that even if we repeat the same events, maybe each time is less horrific, maybe we learned something. Like the U.S. citizens could revolt against the government (see similarly eerie patterns of French Revolution – seriously), but we wouldn’t drag every gov’t official and rich corporate owner out and behead them. I don’t know.


Scary Mommy
September 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I watched that, too, thinking it somehow mattered that I did. Like my watching everything this week makes any difference at all. But, somehow it feels wrong not to sit and sob for those people.


ladyday September 9, 2011 at 1:09 am

Thank you.


Tinne from T and T September 9, 2011 at 7:34 am

My grandmother survived World War II. She was transported by the Nazi’s, forced into labouring in a weapons factory and when she came back to Belgium she was thrown in prison for being a traitor. She lost her firstborn son. She lost her brothers…
She never forgot, nor will I…
Some things – like 9/11- will always be remembered.
Perhaps future generations will not comprehend the horror, but they will know about it.
We owe it to them so that history will not repeat itself.


awesome dude September 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

There is nothing about Holocaust that is new or unusual.

Humans love to humiliate and murder our own kind.

Just compare capacity of the Carnegie Hall and the arenas that Mike Tyson fills in.

There is a very good reference below, only 6 volumes, and the number of the pages is totally not significant for the lucky “Kindle” owners.

BTW, the weather is just magnificent in NYC today.

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776……….


September 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I had the same thing happen today, I was driving to work and they were playing on the radio voice clips of the events unfolding. I turned it off because I got too emotional, but I couldn’t resist and I turned it back on again. Its awful to think that this will be forgotten. That it won’t be as poignant and meaningful again. I hate how much apathy surrounds us. Still even after 9/11. How many people just don’t understand, or care to and that’s what really makes me sad.


The Flying Chalupa
September 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I had never thought of that – the future forgetting of 9/11. It still feels so fresh, doesn’t it? I have to admit that for a week or a day or whatever the media deems appropriate, it feels necessary and good to sit and remember and listen and watch. Because I don’t allow myself to do that any other month.


erin@mommyonthespot September 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm

When I used to teach 8th grade English, I took a class to the Holocaust Memorial Center (in Michigan) during the Anne Frank Unit. There was a survivor that told his story to the kids. I think it brought the lessons to life in a way that reading it in a book never could.

It’s so sad to think that the survivors will soon be gone.

Beautiful post.


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