I understand what she's saying. Sometimes when I see the events of that day replayed on my television screen I think about those who are watching and taking pleasure in the suffering they caused. For them it was a great, victorious occasion and when we relive it perhaps we are feeding their celebrations. On the other hand, I think that we have no choice but to remember what happened and to teach future generations just as we have always taught about terrible things in history, as much as it hurts to do so. We don't turn a blind eye to slavery or war or the Holocaust. These things are facts and we have to face them and teach our children about them. And I guess what I can't figure out is how we remember painful events without revisiting the pain. With time and distance the pain is not so acute, but I think it will always be there. And I think it should be. If we get to the point that we can remember horrible events without feeling horror, I wonder if we're truly remembering.
Here are a couple of columns I recently read on this topic. Again, I can see both sides. Dr. Gene Veith writes about grief and outrage "fatigue" and 9/11 "exhaustion." He says he wishes we could move on. On the other side, Peggy Noonan says "We'll never get over it, nor should we."
What do you think? Can we remember that day without remembering the horror and grief of it? If we downplay those things, are we truly remembering? It occurs to me that in the 21st century our ability to relive past events is much more technologically advanced than it used to be. We have the capacity to replay the news footage from that day in a way that puts us right back in the midst of it in real time. We haven't always been able to do that, so maybe that is part of the dilemma here. We can relive, not merely remember, and maybe my friend is right that instead of remembering, we are wallowing. I don't know. But I do know that in spite of our ability to relive the events of that day I sometimes worry that we have not learned what we should have learned from them. And if that is the case, I suppose wall-to-wall week-long commemorations aren't going to make much difference.