Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Osama Bin Laden
I stayed in my robe all day. We were getting voice mails from our Director telling us that it was "business as usual" and that "today is not a National Holiday." I don't know about you, but on September 11th, I wanted to be around my family, not offices full of ungrateful medical office personnel that asked me if I had any donuts before they greeted me in the morning.
I called everyone I loved, and made sure they were safe, although at first, no one felt safe. It felt like you could get attacked at any time - anywhere. If you remember, there were reports of attacks and missing planes all over the country. It was frightening. I just sat there and watched footage of New York City and the Pentagon, and cried until I couldn't cry anymore.
They held the telethon while I was in the hospital, after I had Hallie. That is all I watched. That is all that was on. It didn't matter. That is all I wanted to watch. I watched people hold up pictures of their loved ones, as they described them while they wept. I watched the recovery workers sob after work each day. This was all right after I had brought a child into this world. It was bittersweet, as is this assassination to me.
Brad called me on the way to work and exclaimed, "We got Bin Laden. It happened last night and we shut the t.v. off too early when we went to bed and we missed it." My immediate reaction was sadness and the recurring thought "too little too late."
But, like any intense emotional reaction to something. I had to sit on it and figure out why I was being so cynical. Why was it that the one person on this Earth who, in my mind, should not have had the opportunity to take a breath in a decade (longer, really) - why was his demise not satisfying to me?
I am so happy for the Military and I want Bin Laden's death to somehow bring peace to the families of the victims of the families that died on 9/11. That being said, I did not personally feel the relief that other people were feeling. There are several reasons why. One, I feel like Bin Laden is one in a long line of terrorists from all over the country that hate America. Two, there is something dissatisfying about killing someone for something that they believe will immediately ascend them into the Afterlife. Three, I feel like there are so many other shitty things going on internally in the country right now, that Bin Laden's death is just a blip on the radar of things that we need to do to make things right again in the World.
I participated in the 9/11 Exhibit in Washington D.C., when I visited there with my parents and Hallie. It had a huge piece of what was left of one of the towers along with partially burned computers, various personal effects of victims, and recordings people had left on loved ones' answering machines, some victims of 9/11, some not. We spent hours there.
In order to participate, you filled out a questionnaire with two questions. The first question was "What were you doing on 9/11?" And the second question was "How has this changed you?" I was hyperventilating by the time I finished writing. My Mom and Dad were crying too, as we watched Hallie run around the exhibit - the child I was so anxious about bringing into this World because of Osama Bin Laden.
My answer to the second question (among many run on sentences, of course) was that "It made me a better American." I think the thing I hate most about Bin Laden's death is that we are all forced to relive what he did to us. He does not deserve that privilege, but we are in control of how we internalize the experience. The way I chose to view 9/11, is not to recall how insecure or depressed or hopeless I felt at the time, but I am going to try and remember how it made me a "better American" and how it made us "United" again. That is how we can kill him over and over again - in our attitudes and our minds - because no matter what measures we have taken to ensure that he is not immortalized or considered a marter, he will be - to a lot of people.
The picture above is of the Memorial at Ohio Stadium. That is what I choose to remember - all of us together again. This way, no matter what happens, this forever puts ME in the power position.