Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Date That Almost Seems Forgotten

Twelve years have passed from that day when I was a high school Freshman sitting in my second period geography class. Twelve years from the moment when the vice principal's voice emanated from the speakers to announce the news that struck me dumb.

The events of September 11, 2001 have since been marked as the day that will not be forgotten.

It's also hard to forget considering the repercussions that ensued shortly after the attacks: stricter airport security measures, a burrowed fear permeating people's consciousness, fright at the thought that perhaps some loon with a bomb sought to take a life worth living in mere seconds.

Yes, we were afraid in those fledgling months of trying to make sense within the chaos. United over the loss, the people in my country were linked by invisible threads of hope, courage and resilience. So were our allies. "Today, we are all American," Jacques Chirac quipped at the time.

The following year, I took French as one of my high school elective classes. Little did I know that such a relatively minor decision would guide me to where I am now.

Twelve years later, I am in France on September 11, 2013. Apart from a few media blurbs on the T.V., newspapers and radio, it's a fairly normal day. People go to work, greet their co-workers, take their kids to school without the faintest qualm that perhaps it may just be the last time they see each other. Life goes on, and the contrast of how I experience every anniversary of that fateful back home versus here comes off as almost irreverent to me.

Over the years, I have slowly, even begrudgingly, accepted that such American customs as Halloween, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July go by without a second, if any, thought here. However, the way that life has gone by tranquilly on this September 11 almost seems...wrong. I can't wrap my head around it.

And yet, living tranquilly is exactly how I've spent this day. I got up, had breakfast, worked, had lunch, went to the gym, showered, went grocery shopping, and had dinner. The normalcy is striking and blunt. It makes me want to turn to those around me and ask "don't you remember what today is?! I can't be the only one!"

Of course they must remember. Who could forget news like that?

Perhaps I'm simply having a difficult time with the acceptance that things will always be perceived differently abroad, especially something that has forever been etched into my underlying way of being.

Time goes by. Life goes on. C'est la vie.

Barb the French Bean


1 comment:

  1. Life goes on and for some people things really aren't a big deal. I personally don't care to remember the bombings of 7/7 here in England. Time goes by, it heals all wounds, and some things are meant to be left in the past where they belong. Never forgotten sure, but also quietly remembered.


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb