9/11: when you don’t believe

memories

9-11-looking-back-looking-aheadTwo articles about 9/11:

An issue of the Now I Know newsletter was particularly fascinating. It was called When You Don’t Believe Your Past Self.

“Think back to a major moment in your life — something which you truly think you remember each and every detail about. Now, try to recall something mundane from that day, something unrelated to the main events of the moment. What you ate for breakfast, which shoes you were wearing, the weather, the day of the week, etc. Unless you have a savant-level recall, chances are your memory of that fact is, at best, a guess…

“But where is that line between ‘important stuff’ and ‘I think it was a Thursday and cloudy out? It turns out that, even on days we think are seared into our memories, those memories aren’t very reliable.

“Actually, it’s worse than that. If one leading study is any indicator, not only do our memories kind of suck, but we can’t really deal with that fact.

“For horrible reasons, most of who were alive on September 11, 2001, can remember a lot about where we were and what we were doing that morning… Plug in just most other dates in the last fifty years, though and that’s not the case. For memory researchers, 9/11 [was an] opportunity to run experiments that are hard to replicate.

“A year after the terrorist attacks, a group of researchers from asked more than 3,000 respondents… to write down their memories of 9/11 — where they were when they found out about the attacks, who they were with, etc. The research made the same requests of the same people a year later and then again in 2011, ten years after the attacks. And what they found… was that stories changed over time…”

eight forty-six

From 8:46 AM 9/11 to 8 minutes 46 seconds, 2020

“The attack on the World Trade Center led to responses that are not possible today. In France the headline of the newspaper Le Monde was ‘Nous sommes tous américains — We Are All Americans…’

“Nineteen years later the French may still remember but it is a different United States they see today. The eyes of the world are still upon us but what do they see now.

“1. They see a country which failed to manage the coronavirus, became the world leader in coronavirus deaths, declared victory, and moved on content to have 800-1,000 deaths a day forever.

“2. They see a country divided by racism preparing to refight the Second American Civil War.

“3. They see a country that has abandoned its world leadership position of its own free will.”

Second Tuesday in September: New York primary day (NOT)

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General.

The second Tuesday in September has been primary day in New York State for non-federal offices. It’s not today because it’s September 11, 9/11. It’ll be held Thursday, September 13 instead.

September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday so it was primary day. Unsurprising, the voting, which had already begun at 6 a.m. in New York City and a few other counties, was postponed to September 25, notably with seven new polling places.

I understand it, I really do. September 11 is for not forgetting. But what better way to to remember than to stick up a proverbial middle finger at terrorism by casting the ballot that the planes hitting the World Trade Center interrupted? This is, BTW, the third time the vote has been on the 13th, also in 2007 and in 2012.

Truth be told, I think a September primary is too late. In races with an unchallenged incumbent, a late primary is a disadvantage to anyone running in a primary, who will have only eight weeks to consolidate the fractured segments of the party and run against a usually entrenched and better financed opponent.

The federal primary in New York State is at the end of June, so those running for Congress, House and Senate, compete then. I think ALL the primaries should be held at that time. It would also create a savings for the local Boards of Election, who wouldn’t need to find people to staff the voting booths in both June AND September.

Finally, here’s my my annual complaint. People in New York City, Long Island, some NYC suburbs, and Erie County (Buffalo) can vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. But those in the rest of the state, it’s only noon until 9 p.m., quite possibly the shortest primary slot in the country.

There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. Why should the folks downstate have six more hours, 15 instead of nine, to vote? I’d favor some way to even things out, such as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everywhere in New York State.

My lesson from 9/11

But, of course, the Iraq war started anyway.

Back in 2002, there was some entity that devised a plan that people all over the country would sing the Mozart Requiem on September 11 of that year. In Albany, the performers were the group Albany Pro Musica. For that performance only, two of my fellow choir members, Gladys and Tim, and I crashed Pro Musica. On a very windy Wednesday morning, we went down to the bandstand by the Hudson River and sang. (That was probably the only day I’ve ever worn a tux to work.)

But that left me grappling – what can I do for peace? Continue reading “My lesson from 9/11”

Extend the James Zadroga Act permanently

“The terror attacks left in their wake a trail of financial ruin affecting many brave men and women who responded to the attacks and others who had the misfortune of living or working on the tiny piece of the United States that happened to be the target of an attack on our country.”

911more-than-a-stickerThe “remember 9/11” crowd in Congress who stalled for nearly a decade to provide compensation for individuals who suffered physical injury or death as a result of debris removal efforts in the immediate aftermath of the attacks irritate me greatly.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was passed by Congress at the end of 2010 and signed into law by President Obama Continue reading “Extend the James Zadroga Act permanently”

The 9/11 Memorial

The waterfalls, the memorial pools in the footprints of the Twin Towers, are quite beautiful, especially at night

Memorial-PoolAfter 9/11/2001, I had only been in Manhattan once that wasn’t in passing (train station to Charlotte, e.g.) and that was seeing a musical in 2003. I had never been particularly close geographically to Ground Zero, despite living less than 160 miles away.

When Rebecca (niece #1), her husband Rico, and a couple of their friends came out from California to NYC around Thanksgiving 2013, one of them items on the Californians’ agenda was to see the 9/11 memorial.

The museum exterior was at the site, but not yet open. Continue reading “The 9/11 Memorial”