We started our conference on Saturday morning, September 11th 2004, with a short speech from our club president, a slide showing the Twin Towers and the American flag, and we had a moment of silence and all I could think was, "This is not enough." And you know what? It's NOT enough. It will never be enough.
I didn't watch TV this weekend, or listen to the radio, but I've read what many of you have had to say about your thoughts and memories and opinions of that day. They were pithy and comforting and they DID add real value to my understanding and my emotions and my valid feeling that the world at large must remember and care about what happened then and see to it, as far as possible, that it doesn't happen again. Not just in America, but ANYWHERE. That does not mean that I agree with Bush's agenda or the war in Iraq or many other things that the American government, MY government still, seems to think that I should be thinking and or feeling each time autumn arrives now 3 years later.
As an American living abroad, and one that has lived abroad for over a fourth of my life, I have a slightly skewed perspective on what being an American means. I grew up in a military family and to be honest, it was the plane hitting the Pentagon that shocked me the most, at least until people began jumping from the burning towers. I distinctly remember finally getting through to my mom, who was away at her aunt's house helping to clean out a lifetime's worth of stuff and who had no idea what was going on, and the first words I said to her were "Turn on the TV, Mom, someone hit the PENTAGON." My father has been dead for the same amount of time I've been in Sweden, and we haven't been a military family for even longer, but the horror in her reaction was equal to mine. We didn't know the Pentagon wasn't the target, then. In our minds, though, it was the ULTIMATE target. We had no idea.
Something Martha said really struck me today: In the end, we're a nation of people all of whom are removed from the horror in different degrees, but all with the right to mourn our collective losses.
It's still not enough, but it's a start.