I grabbed the paper before jumping on the bus this morning and on the front page was an article about how the only thing the school has planned for today is reflection. That is, after last year’s magnanimous tenth-year anniversary commemorations, they had nothing left to do. They shuffled some excuses about planning timelines and the student body president said he wished there were more than just nothing. Wished the school could do more than encourage students to “be reflective” about the day.
As if “being reflective” is insignificant.
Yes, commemorations are important. We commemorate the Holocaust every year. But they aren’t everything–and when it comes down to it, I believe reflection is better any day.
Ten years ago I was twelve. It was a Tuesday. We were already up, had gone about the day as usual. We were turning on the TV to watch MacGyver like we did every day. My mom was taking a shower before we had to leave. The only problem was, all the TV channels were interrupted by a live newscast each showing the same thing.
The scene was this: Two towers, a billowing cloud of smoke from the second.
My brother told me to go tell our mom, so I ran down the hall, banged on the bathroom door, and shouted the news to her. I didn’t know what it all meant, though: I was twelve, what did I know of World Trade Centers and terrorist attacks? To me a plane had flown into a building. It was tragic, maybe in those first few moments scary and exciting, but what did it mean to me–a twelve-year-old boy a thousand miles away?
For me it started early. Back in ’99, Pokemon was all the rage, and you had just two choices: Red or Blue. Even before then, on Nickelodeon game shows like Double Dare and all the others, and also on other hit shows like American Gladiators, everyone was divided into one of two teams: Red or Blue. Then subconsciously, every four years, when great athletes like George W. Bush and Al Gore, or Bush and Kerry, or Barack Obama and John McCain, raced to the finish to strike with the gold, I watched in childish wonder as one by one, the fifty States were painted on TV, Red or Blue.