Sept. 11

Each year, as the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, so many of the emotions and memories rush back . I find myself stuck watching the new batch of documentaries and re-hashed news packages for days. It catches me and doesn't let go until the anniversary passes.

This year, now 10 years from that day, I thought the cycle would be especially powerful. 

It was. But for varied reasons than those that have fueled my emotions during previous anniversaries. 

Instead, I saw very few of the documentaries to air this year. I simply didn't have the time to watch some. Others, I wanted to watch, but forgot to watch when they aired. I suppose my distancing from the newsroom atmosphere has something to do with it also. ... During Friday's NBC newscast, I found a piece about 9/11 artifacts being placed throughout the country particularly moving (Watch it here, starting at the 3:07 mark), and I caught about 10 minutes of this morning's coverage surrounding the remembrances at each of the three sites where planes crashed.

But today was a different type of remembrance. Instead of gathering for a worship service dedicated to remembering the victims and honoring the heroes of 9/11, our church congregation set out across the town for a day of service. We canceled our regular worship services and made "Rethinking Church" the theme. Divided into groups, we removed storm debris left over in yards from a few weeks ago, weeded gardens, painted fences and ceilings, and picked up trash. Even the kids got involved; some helped with the projects while the rest visited nursing homes throughout the community to sing to residents.

Afteward, we returned to the church grounds for an afternoon carnival. Hot dogs off the grill. All sorts of inflatables and activities for the kids. And live music. On a warm and sunny September Sunday in The 'Ville.

Tonight, I attended a remembrance at the university -- the very place my Sept. 11 experience played out 10 years ago -- that more closely resembled the feelings I expected to have on this day. The music fraternity sang a moving rendition of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which was followed by reflections on the day and its symbolism by our campus leaders, ministers and a student who, because of the feelings he had that day, put off college and joined the military to fight in the war. ...

The emotions of the day hit hardest when, with the campus center illuminated by candlelight, a tribute set to Blessid Union of Soul's "I Believe" filled the air. Tears flowed, our hearts hurt, our spines shivered as the the sounds of that day played over the song.

Yes, today was like no other Sept. 11 anniversary.

Good reads and other stuff  ...
a On 9/11, Vows of Remembrance
a Photographer recalls seeing tower collapse
a Ten years later, and that day remains brilliantly lit yet deep in shadows, its meaning a work in progress
a Hit Hard by 9/11, a Piece of Queens Struggles to Let Go
a The World Trade Center As It Was ... very cool multimedia presentation.
a Woman who lost parents on 9/11 will always wonder: Why?
a Tom Brokaw: ‘Unknowable Future’
a It’s Still the 9/11 Era
a Kids born on Sept. 11, 2001, try to make the best of it
a Since 9/11, Pentagon police officer unable to forget hurt man he tried to help
a After 9/11, flight attendant still feels at home up in the sky
a Little noted or known, they bear scars of that day: At the ticket counter, baggage ramp, tarmac, and beyond, Logan workers were left to come to terms on their own, or to try, after the hijacked flights roared into history.
a Man who lost wife on 9/11 finds way to fill the void
a Ironworkers of the Sky
a Newly Published Audio Provides Real-Time View of 9/11 Attacks ... The related link, "The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air," is haunting and fascinating.

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