I never get used to this day…
Here we are, another year has passed. With my sporadic memory it is rare to find a day that I remember everything; from waking up to going to bed. 9/11/2001 is one of those days.
The world hasn’t gotten any safer since then, nor do we care about each other more since that point in history. People in the media and political spheres have always loved to exploit the loss of life to suit their ideology. It doesn’t matter if it is a liberal or a conservative, there is always a “9/11 proved to us” thinkpiece or rant somewhere that eventually leads to “we need to do X Y Z as a country.”
In all of these arguments, the loss of life of that day becomes a weapon somehow. Somehow we forget that thousands were massacred. So many were wrought with the questions and decisions nobody should have to make:
“Do I jump or get burned alive?”
“Will I get through to tell my family I love them one last time?”
“I don’t want to die, why do I have to die?”
Tragedy desensitizes us. I wrote this song for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 for the victims and their families. I didn’t write it to push a sociopolitical ideology. I didn’t write it to be patriotic. I didn’t write it for it to be used as a form of aggression.
I wrote it because a beautiful September day turned into the very definition of hell.
I wrote it to bring the human face of the victims back to our consciousness.
You want to talk to me about war, government surveillance, and every other issue that the aftermath of 9/11 brought? Fine, but talk to me about it tomorrow. This day is a sacred day to remember, to mourn, and to realize that human life is far more important than our stupid need to argue about everything.
I remember being in New York in Spring of 2007 for a high school orchestra competition, and at that time the memorial pool had yet to be built at the WTC site.
It looked like an empty construction zone.
As our bus drove past the site people in my high school band all clamored to take pictures like it was a fucking spectacle. People were smashed next to the windows so they could get a good picture. All I could manage to do was shake my head in disgust.
This was where people took their frantic last breaths, and people want a goddamn souvenir from it?
I was sitting next to my mom who took vacation time off work to come to New York with me, and we both looked at each other with the same disgusted reaction. My mom was nearly certain she had lost her best friend in that attack (thankfully she did not), so maybe that grounded us more. But it seems like we love pain as a society. I saw it in that bus, and I see it everyday I wake up. We have a sadistic need to see suffering as a form of entertainment. As Maynard James Keenan sings in Tool’s Vicarious:
“Eye on the TV
’cause tragedy thrills me.”
All I ask is that we deprogram ourselves from making tragedy a circus act. Remember that we are all stuck on this planet for an indeterminate amount of time, and every life is fragile and precious. As this song plays, remember the fragility of those that left this earth on a gorgeous East Coast morning where everything seemed OK until it wasn’t.