I didn't want to write anything yesterday because I heard some 911 survivors on the radio saying they wish there didn't have to be so much attention on the day. There's a way we friendly and aggressive Americans like to sentimentalize, and therefore sometimes trivialize, tragedy. I know I do; I want to see Spike Lee's video of children singing and the firemen crying, or watch Robert DeNiro walk through Tribeca, or scroll through the "10 Most Powerful Images of September 11" but I made an effort not to.
Still, I am thinking about all those things this morning and it struck me that if we put attention on any day, it should be on the day after. Isn't that the day everything kind of hits you, when you connect with what happened, when you reflect. Whether it be a night of drinking, or the night you fell in love, or when your friends and family threw you a surprise party (yes!) it's the following day, isn't it, when it starts to feel real and when you begin to process your reaction and the consequences.
I remember my best friend, who lived in NY at the time, saying she just wanted to be outside the next day to be with everyone else. She took her camera and walked through the streets for the entire day and as she walked by people, she told me, they would look at each other with an instant connection, acknowledging all the pain, grief, shock, strength and love that seemed to say: We are here.