No More 9/11
It shouldn’t be a surprise that in a world of WWJD, WTF, and LOL that everything is moving too fast for people to actually give a proper name to things that deserve one. We can’t even be bothered to write out an entire word or phrase let alone come up with actual words rather than numerals to mark a day to be commemorated. Names give meaningful import to commemorated events: Christmas (the mass of Christ), Memorial Day (a day on which to memorialize war dead), Independence Day (the anniversary of the adoption of The Declaration of Independence). Before you start arguing that we actually call Independence Day the 4th of July, let me point out that we call it the 4th of July and not 7/4.
I’ve noted for some time now that the awful events of September Eleventh, Two Thousand One deserve more dignity than to be represented by mere numerals, a shorthand for actual words. For a while, it was suggested that September Eleventh be called Patriot Day. I’m not really a fan of that as a name, but twelve years later I’m actually offended by 9/11. Don’t the people who died that day deserve more?
Many of the streets in Manhattan are simply numbered streets. The street on which I live is a numbered street. Some of these streets are celebrated in song, but there aren’t many 42nd Streets; most have rather dismissible names. A street without a name is also an opportunity: an opportunity to be named. West 84th Street is Edgar Allan Poe Street. West 215th Street is Joseph E Holland Way. Edgar Allan Poe was an author. Joseph E Holland, along with Valerie Silver Ellis and 2,994 other people died in the terrorist attacks on September Eleventh, Two Thousand One.
September Eleventh is not a national holiday. Perhaps eventually it will be a national holiday, but in some ways I hope not. It’s not that I don’t think that the day is deserving of a national holiday, but I fear that the day will be commemorated on the closest Monday and that, eventually, the day will be frivolously celebrated, or abandoned altogether for the barbeque. I’m certainly for a national day of remembrance on September Eleventh. I’d love to have the opportunity to take the day to remember and commemorate, but when I got to work last Wednesday one of my co-workers asked me if I was doing anything to celebrate 9/11. The answer to that was clearly no. I had to work, and even if I were not working, I doubt I’d be celebrating. I don’t celebrate Memorial Day; neither do I celebrate Armistice Day. I do, however, commemorate those days with appropriate reverence: something that a person working in retail cannot do easily. There is no worker’s holiday. The shops are even open on Labor Day… but that’s another post for another day.
This is my only souvenir of the World Trade Center, but I value the souvenir of my memory more than any object.