On September 11, 2001 I was in the fifth grade. I remember watching the plane crash into the first tower and thinking it was a movie. I recall going to school and seeing teachers crying in the hallway. Mostly, I remember being glued to the TV, the newspapers, anything that talked about what had happened. The why of the tragedy bothered me but not as much as the victims. They went to work that day thinking it was just a normal day. Did they have a feeling in the gut of their stomach that something was wrong? Was there a strange tinge to the day? I suspect that in the face of death they were unknowing and that’s what struck me the most. That they didn’t know and then they died.
One day a new generation will learn about September 11th the same way we learned about the World Wars. They won’t be impacted the same way, their stomach wont clench when reading the words, they won’t become emotional at the death toll. The impact of the tragedy will be lost on them.
A textbook may not reach them but I would like to think that we can. That’s the great thing about writing. Whether it’s a blog, poetry, short story, fiction, your words mean something to someone. They bring them to that place in time, make them understand and most importantly make them feel.
I always found that I did my best writing after a tragedy, both on a personal level and on a larger scale. Why? Because the feelings are raw, there is so much to say and so much healing to do. Picking up a pencil and writing it all down is like breathing for the soul. Inhale. Exhale. Write.