Never shared this story about Bill Meehan before but today is a day to remember. #RIP
— Todd Harrison (@todd_harrison) September 11, 2020
I try not to add too much noise to the usual remembrances on this day, preferring quiet contemplation. But I will re-point to a few older items and add a few new thoughts:
• My contemporaneous account of the day is reposted here: A Personal Recollection From a Day of Horror; If you want to avoid the painful remembrance, then the Postscript is much more uplifting; it stands on its own.
• Bob Seawright shares an important ex post discussion of perception, bias and misunderstanding in 9.11 Stories: Truth is a matter of the imagination. And yes, I am confirming my priors, but its an important one.
• In this email which Toddo shares (above), David tells of his relationship with Bill Meehan (who is mentioned in Postscript above). When I thanked David for the email, he sent the most lovely response:
“Emotions wash over the soul like reoccurring waves on these occasions. The pain in your heart is your never-to-be-broken tie to the people you loved and lost. And the cutting memories you have that only you know will keep the connection alive as long as you have breath.”
Thank you, David, for those beautiful thoughts.
Finally, I want to make mention of Time. The weeks and months after 9/11 shrunk as time passed agonizingly slowly. It felt like there was never any distance between you and the event: everything was seared in a terrible vivid memory of the day. The rest of 2001 took years to pass; 2002 lasted about a decade; and 2003-04 each took 4-5 years.
Maybe it was ’06 or ’07 when the passage of time began to feel almost normal.
Then came the financial crisis.
I don’t know if this is a flash of insight or my own revisionist history, but maybe thats why I threw myself into writing about it everyday. It was a welcome distraction, a way to focus on something else, to move on after 5 years. Or not; I honestly have no idea.
But looking at it from this vantage point, it sure feels like it. The panicked Fed reaction postt 9/11; the backwards, real estate driven economy, the booming housing market, subprime and credit bubble, derivatives and the eventual GFC — they all served as a grandiose, terrible distraction of what occurred just a few years earlier.
2020 feels different: Like 9/11, It hit NYC the hardest. It is horrible, as it is national / global, and all the worse because it was mostly avoidable. 2020 feels less like time has ground to a halt and more like living the same day over and over again. It is the movie Groundhog Day, only I have to ask where the summer went.
Stay safe, and love one another.