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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Non-Judgment Day

We were all affected by September 11, 2001 in some way. I was living and working in the most beautiful place there is to work, a library in Boston. As the official Hub of the Universe, we felt vulnerable that day, and as the news became clear that the planes that took down the World Trade Center flew from Logan Airport, I felt somehow guilty by association. Beyond all the images from TV and the internet, what I remember with the most sorrow is how deadly quiet the morning bus was on September 12. The silent, downturned mouths and searching, chastised eyes looked to me like a broken America.

On the eleventh, our boss sent us non-essential workers home. I went to my studio apartment, all alone, and started filling out applications for my PhD, even though it seemed like none of my chosen universities would even exist by the autumn of the following year. When it seemed as though the world were truly ending, my applications were a defiant gesture of optimism.

Those of us who are old enough to remember it, know that the world of September tenth is gone forever. But we've made it through September twelfth, and now I live in the world of September thirteenth, which is, for me and my husband, a day to symbolize boundless love.

We were all affected differently, and so on this tenth anniversary, it is right that we should all commemorate differently. The most appropriate group activity I've found that applies to the country at large is Non-Judgment Day. There's a Facebook event for it, but we can all participate simply by considering what we as humans have in common.

Probably the best thing we all share is hope.