I used to think it was only about America.
As if Americans were the only ones affected.
The only ones grieving.
The only ones with a story of that day.
That only our lives were changed.
I was wrong.
Everyone has a story. Everyone’s live was changed. Everyone is somehow affected.
The fortunate ones are of course those less directly affected. But it seems everyone still grieves.
The Irish have strong ties with America. You would have to work hard to find an Irish family that doesn’t have some family member no matter how distant having immigrated to America. The American dream from times of famine and economic hardship is still remembered by most here.
So for many Irish, the fallen Irish-American fireman were their own sons and brothers. Many innocent Americans in the towers were Irish too. The Irish remember with sadness and each year honor their memory.
As an American I often don’t want to remember.
I don’t want to remember the fear I felt that day and the days that followed as I lived in Washington, DC as a grad-student.
My stomach turns at the thought of my brother-in-law flying west that morning from Dulles International Airport and what might have been. Or for my family what almost might not have been when I think of my 10 year-old niece.
We have to remember though.
Being in Ireland has taught me how important it is to remember.
I have learned from the Irish that remembering, like time heals. That talking and sharing is healing.
By remembering, and giving those memories to generations to come, we can ensure it never happens again.