Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cold and Broken Hallelujah

It's been almost 5 years since that morning, and when we're still healing and I think we're in the anger stage, actually I think we've been stuck there for awhile. Both sides of the fence- if you're in the Sheehan camp, you're angry we're still fighting. If you're the one with the magnetized ribbons on your car- you're angry that we haven't done more.
We're either caught up in a romanticized ideal of anti-Vietnam war protests and maybe, just maybe we could recreate that generation by protesting the war, or we are a people caught in a "God Bless America" bumper sticker mentality without thinking about the implications of actually asking for that or perhaps being the blessing ourselves.
I was sort of angry at Hollywood making money off of "my generation's tragedy". The more I heard, the more I started to soften to the idea. Struck this morning by the concept that in the 1940's (for you history buffs, during WWII), movies were being made about the war that we were in. Best example: Casablanca. One of the bigget movies of all time about an ex-patriot was made in 1942.
Air Force, Destination Tokyo, Flying Tigers, Guadalcanal Diary, Objective, Burma!, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, and Wake Island are all examples of movies made during this period.

Change of heart came about from watching a documentary on History Channel about people who lived through the day. Including the two men who the film World Trade Center is about. I started to think "Maybe our hearts will heal if we remember what that day really meant in the first visceral moments of it all." To be blunt: we need to be stung again. We need to remember solidarity, fear, hope and destruction. In our need to constantly change and press against the old (even if the old is only 5 years ago) we've created a subterfuge of our emotions. We've either been zealot patriots or whining victims of the system. Have we as a nation really faced this? Have we forgotten what it feels like to wake up on a normal morning only to be thrown into a new world? Maybe these two films are what we need- a catalyst to make us talk again. We are the nation of ADD and fads. We've forgotten how good we were in the days after 9/11.
I've been seriously reminded of what I felt like that day, thousands of miles away. My whole adult life changed that day. I was only 17 and on my way to school, I had a certain sense of pending metamorphisis. Four years later I was finally able to pay my respects on my Honeymoon to the dead. The Pentagon is a threatning place, a stalwart of a building. We walked all the way around to where the plane had hit and plowed through the building- the new stones stuck out among their older and weather worn counterparts. The memorial there is not completed. We took the subway in New York to Ground Zero. After riding through the grubby tunnels to emerge in a completely new subway station was jarring. It's decorated with tiles of artwork by children of those who were lost. You walk out and can only see a big construction site. Here is where two giants once were. There was a crowd surrounding the gates that outlined the events of the day. We stopped and looked. Here's the best part of our day at Ground Zero: we ate huge slices of pizza only feet away from where the collapse had happended. I took a brochure from them, it said "Grand Re-Opening after 9/11". Resilience.
That's where we need to be- humbly resilient.
Baby i've been here before
I've seen this room and i've walked this floor
I used to live alone before i knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
-Hallelujah, Jeff Buckley

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