Friday , August 19 2022
On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, there is one unrelenting truth: the lost never go away.

The Ninth Anniversary of 9/11: The Lost Never Go Away

People will always ask, “Where were you?” when talking about 9/11. Some of us remember all too well; some of us were not even born. The question echoes across time and space, as it did for people long ago when Lincoln was assassinated, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and when Kennedy was also assassinated. Those events are locked into history and qualify a moment in our collective memory, as does 9/11. On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, there is one unrelenting truth: the lost never go away.

As I sat there this morning, transfixed by the televised images of people in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park marking the anniversary by reading the names of those lost, I waited. I waited to hear his name as the tears welled, my son in the playpen too young to know anything about why his father wept. His sister knows why, but she had been only a baby when she lost her uncle; no memory of him is possible for her, except that which is kept alive by stories and photographs and moments like this.

The name was read, a picture was shown, brief details of his age and hometown were listed, and those reading the long list of those lost went on, reading other names, a litany of pain and suffering for those the lost had left behind. The day was impeccably beautiful, as it was nine years ago: a cloudless blue sky, clear all the way to heaven it seemed then as it seems now. We all remember on this anniversary, but for many of us the memory is there as a shadowy part of everyday life.

Sometimes I am reminded of 9/11 by something small, perhaps a bolt of unforgiving sunshine through a window. Other times it is the sound of a revving jet engine, or the screams of people on the beach as big waves prepare to crash. I can see my son standing in the park staring up at leaves on a tree, and his look of wonder reminds me of an innocence lost. The daunting heft of 9/11 weighs on some of us more than others, but it is like that with things that some don’t want to remember but others can never forget.

9/11 is a daily thought for anyone who lost someone. Sometimes it is magnified by things said or done; other times it is a flash in the waking mind, or part of some dark nightmare that revisits without warning. The people we loved and the people we lost were not destroyed on 9/11, not in the sense of their hold on memory and emotion. The physical loss of them not withstanding, the fallen are always there, the evanescent touch of their presence all around us.

For them there is no argument about a so-called “Ground Zero mosque.” They don’t care about tea parties and protesters and the people who wish to denigrate their memory. Terrorists, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis are worldly concerns, not theirs. They are beyond the pedestrian squawking of mortals who exploit their memory for their own designs. The lost have risen to a new place and are free of the minutia that some people seem to worry about more than they should, but the lost are still concerned with those they love in this world, and in their ethereal domain they wish that peace will come to those they left behind.

9/11 must always be a day to be remembered for only one reason: to honor the memory of those lost. It is also necessary and compelling for those who were left left behind and all other Americans and citizens of the world who mourn their passing. In honoring the lost well and consistently, we show that the best of America is found in such memorials and has nothing to do with book burning, intolerance, or hatred. Those things are what brought down the Twin Towers and have no place in this country.

We will never forget 9/11 or the persons that were lost that day. Some of us knew them, broke bread with them, and laughed with them. They were our family members and our friends. Many people never met those lost, but their connection to them is palpable just the same. It is an emotional and spiritual connection, and in that we are united on this day each year and forevermore.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. His newest books 'The Stranger from the Sea' and 'Love in the Time of the Coronavirus' are available as e-books and in print. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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