There Are No Words


Of course I remember September 11th, 2001. Nobody who was of age to remember it will ever forget. They might want to forget, at times, but they can't and won't.

I was supposed to move that morning, but the truck broke down. We got a call quite early — at my mother's house, where I'd been staying after my wife and I split up — that the hauling of stuff would have to wait a day; sure, I could have gone over to the new apartment and spent the night there anyway, but what soon unfolded called for family. I sat and watched Peter Jennings cover the unfathomable news just as I had 25 years earlier, home from school with the flu on the day the Challenger was lost.

And that's all you'll hear me say directly about the grim events whose 10th anniversary we mark today because, really, there are no words.

What to do, then? How to do… something? It's human nature to ask questions of oneself and the universe, to wring hands, to point fingers, to decry how much and yet how little has changed, to shout, to weep, to distract, to pray, to wish. Yet in my experience dwelling on the dark moment in our history that the media and popular jargon has, to me uncomfortably, dubbed "9/11" inexorably leads to politics — to maddening, trivializing, pathetic arguments. So what to do?

There are no words, but there can be deeds.

You can spend time with loved ones. You can watch reflections upon the day that restrict themselves to the purest tales of heroism and hope that sprung from that day and the days that followed — to the message that we are all in this thing called life together; we are here to better ourselves and to be good to one another; we shall not let hate of any kind, from any corner, win the war nor even wave its flag over the battlefield despite its having won the battle. You can be kind and give of yourself. You can educate or be educated.

Many of us have precious little energy or money to give, but small gestures can still make a big difference in the aggregate. While no effort or organization is unanimously embraced, I consider the following causes to be largely apolitical, fairly universally worthy ones. If stories about questionable distribution of funds at The Red Cross trouble you, Operation USA and Doctors without Borders have impressive reputations in terms of money in and money out; you can always give blood instead instead of cash, too. If you somehow see the memorial at the World Trade Center site as distasteful, then there are surely local shelters, food banks, and the like that could use your help, very possibly in person rather than in coin. I have tried to link to suggested areas of philanthropy that are non-ideological and indeed quite basic in their promotion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — the last of which sometimes seems so much further down the road than the first two for so many families here and abroad that it virtually smacks of hedonism — and I hope that you find something here that spurs you into action.


Click to read more about and donate to
The National September 11th Memorial & Museum



Click to read more about and donate to water.org

Feeding America logo
Click to read more about and donate to Feeding America

American Red Cross logo
Click to read more about and donate to The American Red Cross

ICRC / Red Cross and Crescent logo
Click to read more about and donate to The International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies


Operation USA logo
Click to read more about and donate to Operation USA

Doctors without Borders / Médecins sans Frontiers logo
Click to read more about and donate to
Doctors without Borders / Médecins sans Frontièrs


1 comment:

Arben said...

Great post, Blam — great message.