The past few weeks have yielded television specials, weird street art, and a plethora of articles all circling around the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I have partaken in reading most of them and purposefully avoiding the street art, but I find watching footage is nearly impossible for me.
I was 16 in 2001, which sometimes feels not that long ago, and other times more than just a decade. I was a junior in high school, and was in English class when the first plane hit the North Tower. I can’t really remember the rest of the day, but my government teacher told the class not to watch the news, listen to the radio, or anything else, until the next day when everything would be much more clear.
And now it’s 10 years later, and sometimes I feel like I’m just starting to process what happened. I have an overwhelming sense of guilt, that maybe I haven’t been as sad as I should have been these last 10 years, or that maybe as a teenager, I just lacked that awareness to be able to really grasp what had happened.
I moved to New York in July of 2007, which was obviously post 9/11, and I really didn’t think about it so often. Sometime in early 2008 I catered a party in the highrise on the north side of Cortlandt Street. While I was passing pigs in a blanket in an enormous conference room, I realized that the windows were overlooking the World Trade Center site. It was an enormous pit, and I realized that all the windows of this building had probably blown out. It was a weird moment for me, who had been far away when it happened, to be standing there and acknowledging where I was and what had happened. Sometime after that I watched a documentary on 9/11 and really, actually “saw” the repeated footage of people jumping out of windows on the upper floors.
I think a large part of not truly comprehending it all for all these years, is that I lacked the belief that people could be behind this. That it was plotted out with such meticulous detail, and executed with precision – that partaking in a terrorist attack could really be someone’s destiny. That, mixed with the idea of so many innocent lives sacrificed seems unreal. I am bothered by the idea that it feels unreal to me, when of course, it is very real. I hate that my mind can change the reality of things just to make my conscience more comfortable.
New York Magazine’s current issue really got me thinking about things a few weeks ago. Then there was a reference to The Falling Man photo by AP photographer Richard Drew… there is just a lot of information which I have been ignorant about because. Because. Well, if you try to take everything in it’s just not productive. But I feel like I have to now. Like it’s my responsibility.
Jim and I are going to see the September 11 exhibit at PS1 on Sunday. There’s 70+ works, and a portion of them were made before 9/11. Part of the idea is to test the power of perception. I am pretty sure that it will be uncomfortable, and I will want to faint or vomit. I’m okay with that.
I’m not sure how you’re supposed to end un-snarky blog posts, so I will just do this: