The 11th Anniversary of a Terrible Tuesday Morning
It’s been 11 years since the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the United States. Eleven years, two wars—ended more or less in Iraq, scheduled to end in Afghanistan next year—with thousands of American troops dying and suffering horrible wounds in both wars.
Eleven years since a blue-sky, unclouded Tuesday morning when hijacked jets brought down the twin towers in New York, crashed into the Pentagon and on a lonely field in Pennsylvania. Life has not returned to anything as it was before—wars ensued, fear ensued, Homeland Security ensued, the shifting enemy continued to wreak destruction even as American military efforts thinned its ranks. Osama Bin Laden, the planner and perpetrator of the attacks himself, was killed in a Navy SEAL raid in May 2011. Presidents come and go, but the memory of that day is no less vivid to those who experienced it, who were in the dust of New York City that day, who watched it all on television.
Literature has never managed to capture that day or its results, neither have paintings or poems, it is as if the subject is too full of potent knowledge and facts in the age of the internet to become art. It shifts in the mind, the losses still there, the memorializing going on apace, but the memory changing all the while, like some grief that cannot be assuaged and cannot be totally known.
But every year we remember. On this September 11th—likely to be uncloudy, blue and perfect fall-like, just like that day, we remember in this way:
A national day of service and remembrance, in which volunteers work on projects, emergency preparedness training, in an event hosted by Serve DC. At Freedom Plaza, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with speakers and artists present.
There will be a special and private commemoration at the Pentagon Memorial, commemorating the victims of American Airline Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon resulting in the lives of all those aboard and workers at the Pentagon, totaling 184 victims.
There will be a wreath-laying ceremony honoring victims of 9/11 and military fallen at the U.S. Navy Memorial led by members of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2002.
There will be a moment of silence at Arlington National Cemetery at 9:37 a.m. to remember the Pentagon victims.
There will be regularly scheduled prayer services at National Cathedral, including a choral service in the evening.
A number of other scheduled commemorative events have already been held, including a 9/11 Unity Walk and the Freedom Walk, Operation Homefront.