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six years later

"six years later"
paper collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich
last night, after living through yet another september 11th, i thought i might do some of my reflecting by cutting up bits of paper and gluing them together.
as you know, i love words, and i do a great deal of my reflecting-my processing of this amazing life-by way of words. but sometimes i need to get away from the words for awhile and use a different corner of my brain, a different edge of my person.

september 11th has always been a big deal for me. i can't even begin to say it all or deal with it all here in this post today, so i will pretty much steer clear of the whole thing except to say that i was forever changed that day. recently, when anyone has mentioned 9/11, i have had this image in my head, this violent and inescapable image of a huge flying machine about to collide with an enormous building. it should be a surreal image. but it is not. it is very real. just to make sure i was remembering it correctly, i pulled out some pictures from the two very large files i keep on the subject (they are simply labeled 'september 11'). the picture above is from a special edition of time magazine. but the image isn't unique - we've all seen it. too many times.

still, though, i haven't been able to shake this image and so, for some reason, i wanted to collage it. the collage above is my feeble attempt. someone saw it this morning in my office and said, "so, is this your celebration of destruction?" that was exactly my fear! i didn't want it to come across as a glorification or mythification of the event (look mom, i made up a word!). it is simply a reflection. a remembering of sorts.

and boy do i remember. i remember the shock. the disbelief. the fear. the insecurity. the anger. the deep sorrow. the sense of brokenness down in the deepest part of my gut, where something of a soul resides. i remember wondering if life would ever be the same.

in many ways, it is not the same. we are in a war. we all know what 9/11 means. going to an airport is a different kind of experience now. we fear more. we trust less.

but in other ways, life is remarkably the same as it was on september 10th, 2001. it is hard for me to wrap my mind around really big organizations, like nations, but i have to wonder what we learned from 9/11. i know we learned something. but i'm not sure we learned the right thing. and to those who did learn some really important things, have we forgotten? have we forgotten how we felt like we never wanted to be away from our family? have we forgotten how we swore that we would never hurt others because we thought we were right? have we forgotten the hope of a new future, where we would not kill each other over oil or dogma? six years later, have we forgotten?

greg.

Comments

Redbank Billy said…
I can't believe its six years already, I still can't look at pictures of the WTC before it happened, I mean even old photos. stirs up a whole lot of emotions and a feeling of sorrow for each and every person in that building when it happened. I hope the entire world learned a lesson that day, but who knows, seems lots of people have forgotten already
cathyq said…
I remember, and it still hurts.
Anonymous said…
Hey Greg....here is what I am always curious about.....The anniversary of Sept. 11 is filled with tributes to the lives lost and the heros of that day. I made the mistake of watching Oprah that day and cried for a very long time, not just tearing up, but "bad face crying". Anyhow, I am curios to know what is going on with the people who survived that day. I never hear anything about the ones who were able to escape the towers before they fell....or the Pentagon. Do they have survivors guilt? Are they plagued with phobias now? Can they sleep? How do they remember that day?

Rachel....Christina's friend.
greg. said…
rachel,

first of all, never, i repeat NEVER watch oprah.

now that we have that squared away, i agree with your comment. i almost have to wonder if the pain is still a bit too fresh for most of the survivors to talk too much about. last night i watched the nicolas cage movie "world trade center" and it also had me 'bad face crying,' as you put it.

the main thing that blows my mind is how we have returned to life as normal, like nothing happened.

greg.

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