It’s Never Not Horrifying

Every year on September 11th I try to not read any of the articles.

The recaps, the stories, the photos. I try to ignore it.

It’s also my brothers birthday.

The reason we didn’t turn on the TV and follow every minute of the attack was because we didn’t want to traumatize a 6 year old. Make his birthday forever tied to a memory of horror. Instead through out the day we snuck off to the computer room to hit refresh on the family PC running windows 98.

It seems strange in today’s world to remember that “Terrorism” was not the immediate assumption of the public. I can clearly recall hearing that Russia & North Korea were on a list of 5 countries ” that have yet to deny this act of war was initiated by them”

Living in Vancouver, we, like most of the west coast woke up to the attacks either in progress or already completed. Literally waking up to a a different world than the one we went to bed in.

Trying to tell my youngest siblings what Airport Security was like pre 9/11 is as difficult as trying to explain that Cell-Phones used to be for making phone calls.

Today’s news stream is filled with non-stop death and destruction. “If it bleeds, it leads” is not sarcasm. You would think we would get numb. And yet every year each image, headline, video, just makes me feel sick to my stomach. I try to ignore it, not because I don’t care, but because I’m a father of four, an employee & team leader, and I need to be a functioning human. And I still. Can’t. Handle It.

And there is always one. Always an article I’ve never seen before. A story I haven’t heard, and it cuts through all the noise of the day, and the million op-eds and I end up reading it, watching it, pausing on it.

Sometimes it’s an inspiring story. Maybe about one of the brave first responders who ran towards the crumbling buildings instead of away. Or the ordinary citizens who put their lives on the line for others. People who took in strangers. Strangers who became friends.

And other times it’s just really really really sad. Just a reminder of how unthinkably devastating that moment was.

The numbers.

The numbers are so big.

So now I have to look. I need to look for what the people who were there have to say. What’s their viewpoint. 

And again I’m overwhelmed by how people came together. The bravery. The sacrifice. It’s overwhelming. To dwell on what one fireman who was 20 floors up one of the towers rescuing people when they realized it was coming down.

“To see bravery, to see courage right in front of you – for me has more of an imprint than the fear experienced on that day” – Gédéon Naudet