I watched the coverage of the remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero yesterday night and it occurred to me that, for the first time, "9/11" was being treated in a different way than it had in the past.
It felt as though, both the TV station and some of the people (aside from those who were obviously affected) were going through the motions. My suspicions were proven right when one of those interviewed said that "9/11 had just crept up on him". He hadn't anticipated it, because there was so much going on his life, what with the elections, the economy, the recent Olympics, the summer break and so forth.
9/11 had just crept up on him. In other words, the anniversary didn't hold as much significance to him as it might have done, say, twelve months ago. An event which shook the world to it's very core, just eight years ago, was starting to sound like a bit of an after-thought.
If this is what people are saying now, how will the anniversary be marked in three years time, or five, or seven or thirty? What will happen after next year when a new building will rise up from the debris of the World Trade Centre?
I had an intelligent student yesterday who swore blindly that Bush had orchestrated the attack to blame the Arabs. Unfortunately, her theory is held by more and more people. Forget the facts, the conspiracy seems much more plausible.
Does this remind you of anything?
As Jews, we make it our business to remember another atrocity that took place sixty years ago. We know, that if we let ourselves and the rest of the world forget, our anniversaries, like the uprising of the Warsaw fighters, Kristallnacht, the liberation of Belsen and Auschwitz, may also start creeping up people unawares.
We know that folks will start to wonder whether we made the whole thing up ourselves, to blame someone else - in spite of the rock-solid evidence that exists. Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is a lesson to us all of how easy it is to forget the event and that's why it is vital that we never let people forget its importance for a single moment.
Fast forward to the future. Fast forward to 10/11, the day after. The same people who may want us to believe the Holocaust didn't happen, have a vested interest in spewing out conspiracy theories that intelligent students will swallow up hook, line and sinker. We must therefore ensure that they can't succeed in their malevolent intentions.
I know I didn't let 9/11 creep up on me. I just pray that there were more around who were like me, because if not, one day in the near future, we might do the unthinkable and forget the tragedy that took place in front of the world's cameras at the commencement of this century.