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9.11.2009


When I started to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close I didn't know it was about September 11th. 

If I had known, I probably would never have begun.

Thank God, I did. It's the best book--the best piece of art--I've ever come across. 

"In the days and weeks that followed, I read the lists of the dead in the paper: mother of three, college sophomore, Yankees fan, lawyer, brother, bond trader, weekend magician, practical joker, sister, philanthropist, middle son, dog lover, janitor, only child, entrepreneur, waitress, grandfather of fourteen, registered nurse, accountant, intern, jazz saxophonist, doting uncle, army reservist, late-night poet, sister, window washer, Scrabble player, volunteer fireman, father, father, elevator repairman, wine aficionado, office manager, secretary, cook, financier, executive vice president, bird watcher, father, dishwasher, Vietnam veteran, new mother, avid reader, only child, competitive chess player, soccer coach, brother, analyst, maitre d', black belt, CEO, bridge partner, architect, plumber, public relations executive, father, artist in residence, urban planner, newlywed, investment banker, chef, electrical engineer, new father who had a cold that morning and though about calling in sick..."
page 273

I forget all the time. That it was someone's mother and another's daughter, and another's love-of-his-life. 

I hate that people use the phrase 9/11. It's so small. And is so easy to say. Why did we have to condense the term? To make it easier to live with? I don't think it should be easy. Or pedestrian. 

We have to remember. Not the timeline, not the ticker-tape of events, but the details. Because it's in the details that we find the humanity--of others as well as our own. 

So for today, try.

20 comments:

Micaela said...

Meg, I am glad you said this out loud.

to tell you the truth... "If I had known, I probably would never have started." - that's what has kept me from reading it.

but now, i must.

Annie said...

Thank you. This is the best September 11th remembrance I've read today. Brings tears to my eyes.

Erin said...

Beautiful.

f8hasit said...

Well said.
Thank you.
:-)

MMW said...

well spoken.

Marisa said...

i need to read this...

i think people use the term 9/11 because the gravity of the day is impossible to express. I still remember where i was and how i felt like it was yesterday, not 8 years ago, but you are so right, condensing it does take away from it and makes it pedestrian...

Kelsey said...

Beautifully said.

IIDA said...

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of my favourite books... And it really is the book to read today. Any day at all, actually.

Jalene said...

beautiful.

jess said...

I will never forget 9-11.. my mother was a flight attendant for United (before retiring) and that day was filled with phone call after phone call- some from people we hardly ever spoke to- inquiring whether my mom was working or not.. fortunately for me and my family she was home safe-and-sound.. I can only imagine what it was like for those whose loved ones would never be home safe-and-sound with them again!

That was a great post..thank you!

sheila said...

I now am remembering better. Because of this.
Thanks

jasmine said...

this was beautiful. today is so hard for so many people. it's hard for me, and i don't even have a direct connection with any of it besides remembering my own experience 8 years ago as a 19 year old girl. i'm glad that it has at least brought us all together.

ashley lauren said...

That book has been on my "to read" list for far too long, thanks to your post I will have to move it up on the list.

Thank you for writing this post.

Also, I am only half way done with the Stranger. So far, it's great. So honest, so matter-of-fact, it's refreshing. But school has started and recreational reading has taken a back seat. I will let you know how I like the book when I'm finished, hopefully soon!

Olivia Rae said...

we're reading this book in my contemporary american fiction class this semester, and now i'm even more excited... it sounds amazing, i can't wait to read it.

Hanako66 said...

I don't really know what to say.

Thank you for posting this.

CrowNology said...

I don't think "9/11" is condensed any more than "Holocaust" is. Note: Holocaust has a secure place in the language when it refers to the massive destruction of humans by other humans.
I think that the people who choose to remember these less than human (or completely human...?) moments in our history can remember without any labels at all. It is a matter of emotion which we need a label for in order to speak about.
I think it is telling that 9/11 is remarked upon more than any other such event in the world merely because it happened on this side of the ocean.
I have deep empathy and sorrow for those lives taken, ruined and changed by 9/11, as well as the other events which do the same everyday to our fellow human beings.
Lets make an effort to remember the events, and most importantly the people, without extraneous reminders such as the calender.
Love and peace to you...
Andrea

Fashionably Kate said...

Well said.

I had just lost my best friend eleven days before this horrific attack in 2001. I remember sitting watching the television, and thinking in horror of those people who where loosing their best friends, sisters, mothers, brothers, neighbors etc... on that day as well. I can not begin to imagine the pain that some have gone through.
Thank you for the reminder.

It is sad that we've condensed this down.. shortened it.

Ariel said...

oh i loved this book, i read it in so long ago though, i must have been in a sophomore in high school but since then i've lent it to so many friends but i never tell them its about 9/11 and i always warn them not to turn to the last few pages of the book. they always love the book too.

Miss MyKelle J said...

that book was the most touching book i have ever read. i too would have never picked it up- but my little sister insisted i read it. thank you little sister and thank you for this post!

Sara said...

Today I remember my friend Kelley who I met while working retail in Houston, TX. After knowing Kelley for several months she told me her story. She was engaged to be married to the love of her life, a great man who she had been dating for 5 years. The wedding was planned for October 1st; and then the towers fell on Sept 11th and she lost her fiance. After October came and went she left New York and moved to Houston. She still misses him. She moved me to tears that day when she relayed her story. Today I send up a prayer for her fiance and her broken heart.