Sep 12, 2011


By: Amy Atlas, in Amy's Latest

Zach affixing his “We Remember 911” ribbon to the Ribbon of Remembrance Exhibit by Ground Zero.  Scroll down to see more pictures of the the site on the Anniversary.

I received a lot of emails and facebook posts yesterday from readers telling me they wished they were in New York yesterday for the 10 year anniversary.  Because of that, I thought I’d share a little of what New York City was like for us yesterday.  I sometimes struggle with the decision of whether to share these personal moments {to maintain my family’s privacy} and whether this blog is the right platform, but I felt the need to express what I was feeling yesterday on here.

The lump in my throat yesterday felt enormous.  Yes, living in New York City through the ten years and knowing people who perished on 9/11 is enough to do that.  But there was something about yesterday that felt bigger than that to me. After catastrophic events like 9/11, there are milestones like the 1 year, 10 year, 25 year milestones, etc.  To me, it seemed like yesterday was still raw enough for our city (and country), yet I felt like the next milestone will no doubt feel more removed.  I saw many tweets from young adults who remember being in 5th grade science class or art class when the first plane hit.  The next big milestone will be a lot different. There will be a lot more people who will not remember where they were because they weren’t born yet. This filled me with sadness.  How do you keep the importance of the day relevant for the next generation?  How do you keep the legacies alive of those who perished?  I have to admit that when Memorial Day Weekend or Veteran’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about a day “off” or a way to entertain.  Often, when you are very far removed from an historic event, it is hard to understand the loss. I felt guilty about how I perceive those holidays yesterday.

I also felt helpless about how my own kids will perceive 9/11.  They won’t remember “where they were” because they weren’t even born yet.  It wasn’t the tragedy of their generation. The same way that JFK’s assassination wasn’t mine.  I know I mentioned on Friday it would be a bittersweet weekend because Zach’s birthday is 9/11.  At one point yesterday after lots of cake and golfing, we gave our son Zach a choice and asked him if he wanted to visit the memorial site on his 7th birthday or wait for another day.  Since he has known about it and was interested, he said yes.  This warmed my heart.  He knew from us that the 10 year mark was a very important day.

Down by the site, the mood was somber; the sky was ominous; but one thing was very real and uplifting. There were people who were banded together by this one event.  New Yorkers.  Americans.  People all around the world.  We were all touched.  Law enforcement officials were everywhere and we all felt proud to have them around us.

I was so proud when Zach wrote “We Remember 911” on a ribbon and hung it on the Ribbon of Remembrance Exhibit at St. Paul’s Chapel.  He decided what he wanted to write himself and hung it with such precision.  I wasn’t the only one whose eyes were filled with tears.  There were many onlookers who were choked up as well.  At that moment, I felt Zach was able to feel a connection to this event, even though he wasn’t alive when it happened.  I think yesterday will be his memory of “where he was” on the 10th Anniversary.

How will you continue to remember and honor the people who lost their lives on 9/11?

PS – I’ll get back to regular posts.  I just needed to share this with you all.

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