Monday, September 11, 2006


They lit the torches in New York tonight, two blazing beams of rememberance. I pinned small ribbons to my shirt and went to work. It seems strange that we're back here again and suddenly it's five years later.

I've been asked to write articles about September 11th a few times and today I took some time to go back and read them. The first was written a few days after the attack and it's so raw. I quoted Emily Dickinson's line about grieving “first – Chill– then Stupor – then the letting go–.” I remember struggling to decide if I should go to work that day, and then once I got there spending most of the day glued to CNN.

September 12th I went to worked dressed entirely in black, head to toe, which I never do. I tied a black ribbon in my hair. Since then, one of the things I've learned about myself if that I find symbols soothing. I think in part it's because a symbol is a way of making the intangible, tangible. In the days following 9/11 many people starting wearing red, white & blue ribbons and I have worn them almost every year on that day. It's a small way to count myself among the mourners, to say without saying it, "I am sad today too." I think for me, symbols act as a lightening rod for my thoughts, they help me to gather them in one place.

Today I've been thinking of the people I usually think of on this day. I think of that haunting image of a man falling from the tower. I think of the school children who saw grown-ups leaping from windows holding hands and what manner of terror could have been behind them that the window was their only hope. I think of three thousand families mourning. I think of my friend's sister-in-law who was supposed to be in the Cantor Fitzgerald offices that day but decided not to go. I think of the people who lined up to give blood and the realization that no one was alive to need it. I think and I remember.


dr riptide said...

Thanks for remembering... and caring.


JAnie & DAve said...


You need to get into a Litergical Church, even if just once a year or something. If symbols are powerful for you, you owe it to yourself. Any communion service would do. For something more specific, maybe try an All Souls service, which remembers and celebrates the departed (should be on Nov. 1). Litergy is all about symbols and the power they have to focus our annention and helps us hold the intangible. (I have to admit that they don't really do much for me, but lots of people would disagree).

JAnie & DAve said...

Claire, you say it so well! you are gifted in communication.

Hope you are feeling whole and satisfied this week.
Much love

Anonymous said...

I know this coomment is late, but thanks for caring and wearing a ribbon on Sept. 11th every year.

Anonymous said...

That last comment was me.