I waited to write this post until late in the day. I was curious how the eleventh anniversary would be marked across the country. Eleven years after, we have passed two milestones. A little more than a year ago, the primary organizer of the attacks (no I will not mention his name) was killed. Last year this was still fresh and many people asked if we would enter a new chapter in our collective remembrance. The other milestone was the tenth anniversary. We love our round numbers, and as silly as it seems, a decade seems a natural time for our psyches to move on to a less burning form of grief.
As many suspected, today’s ceremonies were more subdued than they have been in past years. Anger has faded. We’ve stopped asking Why? and come to understand that once you look closely, there are no satisfactory answers that can explain why madness does what it does. Politicians have moved on and left families to handle the day themselves. And what is largely left to those who choose to mark September 11 th , is reflection.
Over the last six years I’ve talked to many people about the events of that day, and about how chose to move on. Some were family or friends of those who died, most weren’t. And I’ve noticed a pattern.
September 11 th has been used by politicians to further their own points of view. But the rank and file have generally treated the day as a day to forget the things that make us different. I’ve made sure to keep Project 2,996 free of politics, but was neither the first nor the last to make that decision.
If you look at the anniversary over the last few years, you can see that gradually, 9/11 is becoming a day to focus on the things that we agree on, instead of this things that separate us. It’s become a day to forget about partisanship. There are early attempts at making it a day to do something positive—a day to help others—whether through blood drives or charitable work.
I can’t think of a better thing to do on 9/11.
When I get up tomorrow morning I’ll write a real 11th anniversary post.
Right now, I just wanted to apologize to all of you who are leaving comments or sending me emails with updated or new tribute links. Work has been crazy these last two weeks and the pipe and drum band is getting ready for a competition this weekend, so even my hobby is keeping me busy.
I will get to updating the list with all of the hard work you’ve put in, but it’s just not going to happen by tomorrow.
This isn’t meant as self-promotion, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way.
Working on this project now for six years, several times I’ve been caught by the coincidences that crop up.
The first year, while randomly assigning names, one participant wound up writing a tribute to someone who had lived in the house next door (though at different times). When I started Project 2,996 I didn’t know anyone who died that day–or any of their families. Sometime after I started the project I made friends with a family in my neighborhood, but it was another year until I discovered that my their BIL/Uncle had died in WTC1.
Last night I was struck by another coincidence. In the last few years I’ve taken up with a bagpipe band here in Raleigh–Wake & District Pipes & Drums–and I’m now part of the drumline. A few weeks ago when our Pipe Major asked for volunteers to play for the Jimmy V Gala to raise money for cancer research, I volunteered because…well, pipes & drums and then the pub on a Saturday night…what could be better?
It was only once I was at the Gala that I realized that the guests of honor this year were a group of 9/11 first responders and ground zero workers who have developed cancer.
In the video linked below, you can see the band playing (at the 0:16 mark)… I was right behind the Bass Drum, which comes into frame right as they cut away.
September 11th almost surprised me this year. I’ve had a lot going on this year* and just didn’t see it coming.
Luckily for me, someone who’s been part of Project 2,996 since the beginning, Darryl Heron, was not asleep at the switch. A couple of weeks ago he contacted me with an idea. A simple idea, but one that required some thought and planning. He’s almost ready to announce it.
What is it? Well…it’s his idea, so I’d rather let him do the explaining. But this should be a great new way to share information about the 2,996 people who died almost eleven years ago.
I will say that we’re likely to need a few volunteers who are comfortable with social networking and have a little free time.
So this is Darryl’s introduction, and sometime in the next couple of days he’ll be along to share his idea with you.
* Learning to drum in a bagpipe band takes up more time than you’d think.
I’ve received a couple of comments on this so I just want to be clear that the list of 2,996 name does NOT contain the hijackers.
When I downloaded the list 5 years ago I chose to include both those officially listed as killed, AND those listed as missing. In the last 5 years a small number of those originally listed as missing have been added to the list of official victims. As of right now, the number of missing is 19, the same as the number of hijackers.
My list is not identical to the official list of victims. From the beginning I decided that I’d rather accidentally include a name than accidentally exclude someone.
On this day, do not be sad. To mourn a loss is normal and healthy. But we must work to not dwell.
Take this day, not to remember mass murder, but to remember the 2,996 people who are loved and missed.
Go here and read about some wonderful people.
If you sent me an email or a new link after 9/10/11 at noon, please be patient. These are a busy couple of days.
A bunch of the emails I’m getting are links of tributes that I have mistakenly listed as dead links. But one helpful emailer gave me a clue that made 2 + 2 = something a little more than 4. The practical upshot is that today I’m pouring through about 1700 links that may not really be dead links.
I’m crossing my fingers that the good part of the list will get MUCH longer later today.
Attention fans of Project2996:
After much delay (sorry), the most current list of tributes is available (the link is in the menu above).
I’ve gone through each of the ~4500 links myself an after removing the dead links we have 2,192 people with no tributes.
There’s no way to get that done by 9/11/11, but my goal is to get them all done no matter how long it takes. So please help spread the word. I’ve activated the page on FaceBook, so please take a moment to Like us using the widget to the right.
President Obama just announced that Osama Bin Laden has been located and killed.
After 3,519 days…I hope that the families of 2,996 innocent people are closer to peace tonight.
On this day I will not cheer for the death of another human, but neither will I mourn him.
2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
On September 11, 2006, over 3500 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each wrote an individual memorial for a single victim.
We each chose to honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.
Five years have had quite an effect on the list of tributes. Expired links and blogs that are no longer functioning have whittled the list to under 900.
If you would like to help out, please select a name from the list of those without tributes. With a little web research and a little compassion, you can learn enough to write a tribute. Then post that tribute to your blog, and send me the link (or leave it in a comment on this blog).
But, and this is critical, the tributes should celebrate the lives of these people–kind of like a wake. Over the last 10 years we’ve heard the names of the killers, and all about the victim’s deaths. This is a chance to learn about and celebrate those who died. Forget the murderers, they don’t deserve to be remembered. But some people who died that day deserve to be remembered–2,996 people.
Dale Challener Roe