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September 11, 2012

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life, Events Sep 10 2012 · 783 views

life event September 11
Dear Blog,
It just occurred to me that my sister celebrates her golden birthday tomorrow, which officially makes her a preteen and separates her from the tragic events surrounding her birth by more than a decade. September 11, 2001 is today a day a mixed feelings for me. While thousands of people died, my mother was in the hospital pushing a new life into the world with all her might. In all this, I was in my aunt's custody, being told to watch the news for homework.

I knew then just as much as I know now that it was a day I would never forget, and the circumstances for my family especially were unique. I knew that celebrating my sister's birthday would conflict with the need to mourn the lost, and that the mourning would feel strange as I reminded myself that there was reason to be happy. Ten years later, on the Tin Anniversary of the attacks, I could say that I appreciated the feeling and all its complexities more so than I had originally conceived them to be, but from the start I was still on the right track.

Every time September 11 rolls around, the alienating bittersweet feeling captivates me for the entire day. I always write a journal entry about my feelings. I always stop by a half-raised flag and hold my hand over my heart for a minute in solemn silence. I contemplate on the loss, but then I remind myself that here in America, as is the case with my sister, there is always hope, even in the darkest of days. After all, the smoke rising from the World Trade Center couldn't blot out the rays of the sun. Then, usually, I cry.

This is my sister's day. That's a fundamental relationship. So is the relationship between man and country. On September 11, I find myself at my most human. Everything I stand for, everything I believe in comes to a halt, as if time stood still for 24 hours just to state me in the face, and so I can stare back. Time doesn't say anything to me; it just looks knowingly at me, nods its head, and continues on before the silence becomes awkward. All the goods and evils of the world - the things that I live for and the things that I fight for - pull at me in opposite ends and stretch me out. Then the most important element of my humanity rises, where I am pulled in a third direction to rediscover my relationship as a man with God. I'm a believer in that perfect plan of his, whatever it may be, and I believe that he can hit seventy times seven birds with one stone and that these confusing events were all somehow meant just for me. Somehow the craziness of the world is meant to help me grow as a person and call me to a higher destiny.

In its own subtle ways, September 11 helped to define me. It's not on a daily basis, but I recall being an eight-year-old boy and thinking that I wanted to serve my country. Normal men grow up to fight for small things, like impressing a loved one, but they are capable of so much more. As it happens, I too live for loved ones, such as my sister. She is indeed a very special person and with living for, yet she is also a symbol of this country and its needs. I can't celebrate her birth without also thinking of my obligations to my larger family, my entire country, and the day it needed the love of its children the most. Maybe this is my calling.

Tomorrow I wear white. Johnny Cash was right when up front there should be someone in black, and I respect the fine young men of this country who cry with those who weep. This country deserves BZP Lovers who remember the poor and downtrodden and come down to them. Tomorrow is time for that. Meanwhile I, for very similar reasons, will wear white. I wear white out of hope that we will see brighter days. I wear white to remind myself that there is comfort even in sadness. I wear white because my humanity depends on it. I wear white because Johnny Cash wears black for me, but most importantly I wear white because all I have is prayer. I pray for the lost and the lonely who suffer from September 11, 2001, whose lives are eternally filled with an empty seat at the table, and I pray for my sister. Happy birthday.


  • 0

A very interesting and moving piece ... but shouldn't the title be "September 11, 2012" instead of 2011?
    • 0
Scanty Demon
Sep 10 2012 08:29 PM
To me this story is proof even in great tragdey that life goes on. As one ends another begins, we should never forget those who have passed. Hope you can balance your feelings of joy for your sister's birthday and condolence to those who have lost their life.
    • 0
Huh, my birthday too.

My seventh was unlike any other.
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Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: People literally don't have names in my family
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, Quarter Hungarian, Eighth Swedish, Sixteenth German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, drawing
Political Caucus: Iowa Republicans
Religion: Christian
Language: Iowegian

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