Am I a Horrible Person Because I'm Not Watching the 9/11 Coverage?

Am I a Horrible Person Because I'm Not Watching the 9/11 Coverage?
Chicago on 9/11/01: Not a hair out of place

I’m feeling guilty about the fact that I don’t want to watch the 9/11 coverage.  I’m probably the kind of person people from New York find really irritating.  It’s not that I don’t care- quite the opposite actually.  I am finding the coverage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 more emotional than I found the actual events at the time.

I don’t have any direct connection to anyone associated with or harmed by 9/11.  I have colleagues who worked only a couple blocks from the World Trade Center and remember the events of the day in great detail from a much more personal standpoint.  I, however, was safely tucked away in Chicago.  Everyone has their own story about what they were doing and what they remember from that Tuesday, so I won’t bore you with recounting my own memories. 

What intrigues me (and maybe everyone had the same experience) is how much I remember about the days and weeks following September 11, 2001.  I can remember certain events because of their relation to that day.  Our cat was a tiny kitten, so I know she’s a sassy 10-year old now.  My grandmother died the following month, so that’s almost ten years now.  Our basement flooded.  I got my tonsils out.  I don’t think I even remember in such detail things that happened around the time my kids were born as I do the fall of 2001. 

Maybe there are significant and trivial life events in every snapshot of a couple months, but who can remember them with such precision as the things that happened in the month or so following that day?  If it happened to be a particularly bad time in someone’s life, I’m guessing all of this coverage would put them right back to that time, so there is that secondary impact the memories elicit.  That wasn’t the case for me, so I can’t use that as a reason why it’s all bothering me.

My 15-year old son can’t get enough of the coverage and has been watching one show after another, giving me continuous updates about what he’s seeing.  Every time I pass the living room and see the images on t.v., I turn right around and leave, even running errands this morning just to get away from the barrage.  Even so, I found myself crying in the car.

After my errands, I stopped by a friend’s house and mentioned that I was feeling guilty about not watching the coverage.  I said that I’ve been getting impatient with everyone’s “Never forget” proclamations because no one is going to forget that day.  My friend, who is Jewish, compared it to the Holocaust in that it needs to be talked about so that people do remember it.  That made me feel even worse about my intolerance of the coverage.  I’m not watching because it’s upsetting?  That’s pretty shallow. 

I don’t have a resolution.  I still haven’t watched any of the coverage for more than the 30 seconds it takes me to enter and exit the living room.  Thankfully, the Bears are now playing, so there is a slight respite.  Maybe I should be watching with my kids.  They come from a different place than I do because they don’t remember it as much as I do.  I’m glad they’re watching because it was so historic and it literally did change our country.  Time for Mommy to buck up and think of her kids rather than herself, but then isn’t that what being a parent usually is?

Filed under: Parenting

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