Anniversary of September 11

9-11-memorialAs I sit here in my upstate NY cottage on a chilly late summer morning, I am suddenly aware that today is the anniversary of 9/11. It has been floating in and out of my consciousness lately. This is mostly due to the controversy in the news about the proposed Islamic Center on the site and of the report of a preacher threatening to burn a copy of the Koran.

Like many anniversaries we may have lived through, the tendency is to remember where we were on that day. Perhaps we remember anyone we may have lost. I personally did not lose anyone in particular that day and was myself far away on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, safe from harm.

But that is not to say that I and many others did not lose something. For me, it was the illusion of security and safety in my environment. I notice for example, that when planes fly overhead in what seems to be a  flight pattern, I get anxious. Or when there are fire engines at the entrance to the subway, my fears of a terrorist attack are activated.

I clearly have to work harder at maintaining my serenity while in Manhattan since that day. I also have a deep sadness for those who died and for those who continue to suffer. I am not only referring to those who survive 9/11 victims, but also those whose anxiety was kicked up several notches as a result of the attack, those whose posttraumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms increased, and those who lost faith in our leaders to protect us. They come to me for help and although sometimes it slips my mind for a short time in our work, when we begin treatment I always make sure to ask, “Where were you on September 11?”

What affects me personally the most is the new construction at the site. I am a Yoruba priest who recognizes the role of ancestors in present, daily life. Because of my spiritual practice, I am acutely sensitive to the violation of a sacred burial ground. And I can only shudder to think of the repercussions of building on what I feel should be a place of healing, and not of profit and commerce. Do we really need more office spaces in this town? I think not. Last I read, there was an abundance of both office space and built structures in New York City.

Perhaps my vision is a cliché. But clichés are come to be for a reason. I would like to see green and flowers and trees, and places for people to sit and meditate and interact. Not in just a part of the area, but throughout the entire financial district. It would help to soften the energy of the district which was the target. We have an opportunity to show ourselves and the world that we may be the most powerful and wealthy country in the world, but we are also humane and we honor our dead.

It has never served us to build over a sacred burial ground. In the same way it has not served me to just inhabit the property I live on in upstate New York without honoring the Native American ancestors who first occupied it. The truth is that I will not find peace of mind here if I neglect them in the place they lived and died. Consequently, I have made it a point to honor them in ways that acknowledge presence and memory.

So on this anniversary, I encourage readers to think of ways of honoring those who died on 9/11 and to pray for their elevation into light. This is also a call to action to remember those who continue to suffer. They carry the burden for us all.

© Copyright 2010 by Kalila Borghini, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Elizabeth

    Elizabeth

    September 13th, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    I was pregnant when this happened and I remember being so sad about the world I was bringing my baby into when this happened.

  • Constance

    Constance

    September 13th, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Kalila, I agree with you about not needing new office space there. I always assumed that it would be as you described when the city was ready to rebuild that area. I thought a park and place to reflect and be at one with nature was the most fitting, because nature would remind us of the cycle of life: that even in the most barren of times, there follows rebirth and regrowth. It’s abhorrent to me to think of anyone making money in that spot or construction disturbing those graves. The families need a memorial to commemorate their loved ones and to ensure we never forget, of course they do. I just wish the whole plan had been more to do with nature than steel. God bless them all.

  • lin

    lin

    September 13th, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I noted the passing of the ninth anniversary of 9/11 with sadness and tears. Though I was upstate, I work with a political organization that had many young staff on the ground in NYC — September 11, 2001 was Primary Election day in New York. I was born and reared in New York City and in the days immediately following, I was powerfully drawn home, eyes and thoughts fixed on television news channels.

    Yes, I remember the the images of planes crashing, buildings burning and crumbling, even people jumping. But also I remember the thousands who, just as powerfully drawn, helped feed emergency personnel, donated millions of gallons of water, lined the only route open to reach the site and cheered and thanked those who had something more to offer.

    In the wake of one of our darkest days as a nation, so very many found their better selves.

    I am said about September 11 still. But I am equally proud of New Yorkers’ immediate reaction. I only wish it endured.

  • K son

    K son

    September 13th, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    We may do all we like to honor the dead, but for all those people up their, profits are the only things that matter and doing whatever it takes to gain the same is the only thing they will honor!

  • niki

    niki

    September 14th, 2010 at 4:13 AM

    i was happy to see that even after all these years we still remember the victims of 9/11 and organise programs in their remembrance.i personally coordinated with my friend for one such remembrance program in the neighborhood.it felt good and i felt like i am doing atleast something for those who died that day.

  • Goldie M.

    Goldie M.

    September 14th, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    My friend used to work in the WTC and had been out with work at the time that the incident happened.He got a second life,nothing less than that!

    As he is very close to me,this incident really shook me up and I am not afraid to say it but yes,I am a little paranoid about things now and I fear things more than before 9/11.Nobody likes to die and its no different with me.

  • Augusta

    Augusta

    September 14th, 2010 at 3:30 PM

    When we become complacent and generally oblivious to the world around us then this is when things tend to crashing in all around us and we have no ability to see that it is going to happen whatsoever. I think that this is what happened to the US on Sept 11, and I also think that this is something that we very easily allow to happen in our own personal lives as well. We have to keep our guard up and be strong so that things like this do not blindside us, whether it is something small that only happens to us or if it is larger and forces the whole country to sit up and take notice. This is something that does not have to happen to any of us again but we have to be ready for it if it does.

  • Gail

    Gail

    September 14th, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    I did like President Obama’s suggestion that September 11 should be a day of service. Even though I wasn’t personally affected by a loss of a loved one that day, my heart was broken for the families who were. Who can forget those scenes on the news and all the families searching, waving pictures of their husbands, wives and children? I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it and cried for days as I followed the story. We need to heal in some way and a day of service could help by sending out positive energy into the world while still respecting the dead.

  • JENNY

    JENNY

    September 15th, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    This day should become something like a global day for d fight against terrorism in my belief.It would also give an opportunity for ppl to have a common cause aginst d enemies of humanity.

  • Bethany

    Bethany

    September 15th, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    I was living in NYC when Sept 11, 2001 occurred and there has never been more palpable fear all around the city than the minutes and hours and days after the twin towers were hit and came crashing down. And then eventually for many Americans that went away but for those of us who lost friends or families or even a treasured part of the city I do not think that that will ever go away. It hurts me that people so easily forget or want to make ridiculous gestures to honor those who died. The best way that we can honor them is to never forget what happened and not to let others forget it either. This was a painful experience for so many of us Americans and to think that some just want us to move forward feels shameful to me.

  • Natalie

    Natalie

    September 15th, 2010 at 5:20 AM

    rather than thinking about how we should go about and what we should do on september 11 every year,we should try and focus on securing our nation from any attacks in the future and we need as many more programs to ensure this happens.

  • Eleanor

    Eleanor

    September 15th, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    I don’t think they could have found a solution about what to rebuild there that was going to please everyone. I cannot imagine how horrific a sight that would have been and the trauma of knowing one of the innocents that was caught up in this was under tons of rubble and twisted metal. It gave me nightmares for weeks after it happened. How can you handle something as sensitive as that without upsetting someone?

  • Paige

    Paige

    September 16th, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    The sadness and upset is still very fresh even for us that only watched it unfold. The affected families need to know we shall never, ever forget. Never ever. This will not fade in our minds and nor will our compassion for you in our hearts. I can hardly believe that almost a decade has passed.

  • Mike

    Mike

    September 16th, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    That idiot of a pastor that wanted to have the burning needed to be locked up for inciting hatred. I don’t think the old fool realized how close he came to causing global unrest and endangering Americans worldwide. He wanted his fifteen minutes of fame and he got it. Now we need to find some way to make sure that the government’s hands aren’t so tied if it was to reoccur. The most they were going to be able to get him for was having no fire permit! We cannot allow crackpots to wield such power.

  • Irene T.

    Irene T.

    September 16th, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    I thought it was going to be a park with two waterfalls, Kalila. Did that all change? I must be behind the times. Or is that being built somewhere else? Please explain.

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