What impacted me the most about 9/11 is the strange and uncharted territory it took many Americans in terms of its impact on our national psyche and/or the realization that there was a national psyche. In retrospect, now that a year has past, it seems very similar to the feeling one must have who has been horribly violated, that your wounds are slowly healing but knowing you’ll never be the same. And experiencing that sense of emotional pain for a country who many of us in our busy chaotic lives w/ our cynical irrerverance towards any sense of national pride, was a disorienting shock.
I first felt this hurt the morning of 9/11 when a window washer from a Latin American refugee group came to clean our windows. We of course started talking about the event and while he initially expressed great shock and horror, added that he wasn’t surprised that this sort of thing happened since so much of the world hates America. While I wasn’t surprised to learn of such a sentiment, and he personally professed his love for this country, I was sickened to hear it at that moment in time, especially from someone who was benefitng from America’s kindness and generosity toward the oppressed, truly one of our great assets.
I suppose it’s easier to go on with life as “normal” out here in California than back East but I now find myself continuously linked to that day when I walk past a memorial across the street from my office building dedicated to the memory of a UA 93 victim who had lived nearby.