Las Vegas, Nevada 2021-09-11 05:00:00 –
Todd Heissler / AP
Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 2:00 am
New York — In his mind, Michael Regan should have been there. He should have guts.
Regan, a longtime employee of New York City who became the first deputy fire department director after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, coordinated numerous funerals and memorial services and shattered hundreds of people. I helped my family. Still, he couldn’t shake his guilt. He was supposed to be at the World Trade Center.
A few months later, Regan finally shared his regret with a stunned fire department colleague. Had have been to. He helped transport the bodies of the first deputy fire chief, Bill Fihan, and the department head, Peter Gansey, to the morgue on First Avenue.
Don’t you remember
In retrospect, Regan said his mental block must have been a way to deal with the momentary loss of thousands, including many close friends. “It was a safety mechanism,” he said. “That day I saw horrible things, and I didn’t want to think about them.”
Twenty years later, the “never forget” command retains its power and shakes us in the past every time we see it behind a Belt Parkway hat or flag, or a passing car. Due to its slogan-like simplicity, these twin words seem to be full of guilt, obligations, and even the complexity of presumption — as if we could forget. ..
But now that the whole generation was born from that day, the version of the question posed to Regan may be asked to all of us who lived it in some way. Two planes hijacked by al-Qaeda piercing the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. Third slamming to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Fourth crash in an open field on the outskirts of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All in less than 90 minutes.
What exactly do you remember? What do you talk about when a casual conversation turns into a therapy session? What are you talking about? And what brings you back instantly on that seemingly sunny Tuesday morning?
For writer Nikki Stern, it may be a cigar smoke mass. Her husband, Jim Potorti, vice president of Marsh & McCrennan, who worked on the 96th floor of the North Tower, occasionally enjoyed cigars. Or it could be a bicycle sight. Just a bicycle. Jim used to cycle. …
“I will partition,” Stern said. “But there is a permanent leak in the compartment.”
For former New York Police Department Deputy Secretary James Luongo, it’s past the currently closed Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. He spent almost a year in the mound and oversaw a pop-up base camp. There, 1.8 million tonnes of trade center wreckage was screened for human remains and personal belongings.
The problem is that Luongo lives on Staten Island.
“We need to put it where we need it,” he said of his memories. “And don’t open the door more than you have to do.”
“When I heard” I will never forget “in 9/11, the next question is” What will I never forget? ” Charles B. Stone, an associate professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said.
Never forget the international dynamics that set the stage? Subsequent homeland anxieties, including harassment of US citizens simply because they were Muslims? A seemingly non-stop funeral month? 20 years of war and bloodshed?
“Probably the closest answer is to never forget what happened,” Stone said. “But what is forgotten is the details.”
The tranquility of another body being pulled out of the rubble and carried into a salute and a construction helmet over the heart. Ham on a refrigerated truck outside the morgue.Stimulant odor Loss drifting uptown from the open windows of the newsroom.. Landfill. funeral.
Of course, the call to Never Forget can also be interpreted as another prestigious attempt to maintain the faint sensations of many emotions of the day. It’s honorable, but probably useless for the constant friction and whims of memory over the years.
During the first few days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a team of scholars across the country attempted to capture the memory of the “flash valve” at that moment. A vibrant and lasting spiritual snapshot formed at the moment of historic imports, such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Or the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They asked more than 3,000 people some questions, including: Where were you when you learned about terrorist attacks?
In New York, graduate students working on research set up tables in Union Square and Washington Square and handed out surveys. Thousands of people gathered at Union Square and Washington Square within days and weeks after the attack. From memory.
A year later, researchers asked many of the same people the same questions, but found that 40% of their memories had changed. The man who now says he was in the office when he learned of the attack might have said he was on the train before.
According to Elizabeth A. Phelps, a professor of neuroscience at Harvard University who worked on 9/11 memory studies, these altered memories are similar to similar studies done in connection with other historical events. It was a match. What set the September 11th memory apart from the usual autobiographical memory was the extreme confidence that people had developed into their altered memory, which had begun to materialize by the first anniversary.
“You have your story and stick to it,” Phelps said.
William Hurst, a professor of psychology at New School for Social Research, who also worked on the study, agreed. “I think what happens is that they unfold a story about flashbulb memory,” he said. “It will be their story.”
Hurst wonders if changes in memory are somehow related to a sense of identity. After all, if you didn’t know how you first heard about the September 11th attack, what do you think of you as a New Yorker, an American? Matching your personal story with the consequent moments of history may be a way to claim that you are part of the affected community and that you belong.
Inevitably, one day no one will be alive with the personal narrative of September 11th. Inevitably, time transforms the living experience of the internal organs into a dry history, so the emotional effects of the day disappear a little and a little more. lesson. This transformation has already begun. Ask your high school history teacher.
But for now, for many, September 11th remains a living experience. We have stories (memories that may have changed) that we share or do not share on anniversaries or at any time of the year.
We may tell our story to prevent the inevitable erasure of time. Every time I hear Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” I might ask them to help us handle the moment or explain why we’re quiet.
Then again, we may keep our story in some leaky parcels for fear of being recognized as another 9/11 narcissist who is the hero of our own story. Hmm. Or they may be keeping them alone in simple awe.
Regan, who was temporarily forgotten, is now 64 years old and is an executive at JP Morgan Chase. He has his memory, his story. Some are interesting, with its dark Irish coping strategies. Some people are so calm that silence is the only reaction.
He avoids the annual reading of the names of the dead on anniversaries, and all documentaries, books and essays of the day continue to inspire. He said he would never visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. “You don’t have to go back.”
Luongo, now 63, retired in March after spending 40 years at the NYPD. This career is partially highlighted by months of experience in Staten Island landfills. More than 4,200 bodies and nearly 60,000 personal belongings, including photographs and ID cards, were recovered.
He oversaw a village built on tragedy and glow of the night, with office trailers, decontamination centers, restaurants, and conveyor belts waiting to receive barge debris from Lower Manhattan. .. The oncoming stack of crushed vehicles, such as police cars and fire trucks, is arranged in neat and scary rows.
Like Brigadoon, it’s all gone. Was it real too? Or is this also a memory trick?
“I remember,” Luongo said. “So you get up in the morning, light a candle, pray — and move on.”
I also remember Stern, who continued to write two non-fiction books and four novels. Why couldn’t she?
I plan to buy eggs at a supermarket near my home in Princeton, NJ, and make chocolate chip cookies for my husband. “I made the best in the world,” when someone shouted: The World Trade Center has been attacked!
Six months later, I was informed that a quarter-sized gym was identified. Writing, writing, writing, over 150,000 words that no one else sees every night through her sorrow.
For the past 20 years, Stern has overcome “a kind of peculiar suffering” and has been working on building something constructive. Her participation in the non-profit peacebuilding organization Search for Common Ground is another form of memory.
“I don’t want anyone to experience this,” Stern said. “But I don’t want to live my life saying,’I don’t understand what I’ve experienced.’ What’s the point? Why should they?”
The smell of cigars. bicycle. Drive on the Staten Island Expressway. anniversary.
I remember camping with the National Guard at Battery Park a few days after the terrorist attack. I remember wearing a construction helmet and walking around with a clipboard. It was as if it belonged to the restricted World Trade Center grounds, at the time it was called the “pile” and was as much a burial place as a crime scene.
I remember the calm dust in the surrounding buildings, scribbled with messages of sadness, anger, and faint hope. Scribble with your fingertips. I remember deciding to record these messages before the power washer came.
“The tower stands up again”
“Vernon Cherry Call Home”
“God is with you Dana-love, mom”
I remember I didn’t really want to think about the dust components, and I didn’t want to think about how harmful the dust was to inhale by rescue teams and recovery workers.
I remember the dust was vanilla in color, but the note says it was gray. But I’m sure this: dust was everywhere. The world was covered by it.
This article was originally New York Times..