September 10, 2018
As has been my custom for a decade now to mark the tragedy of 9/11, I will refrain from posting on social media for the day. In these days where far too much of our communication consists of finding novel ways to shout at and past each other, I will read, and listen, and reflect on what others are sharing on social media. As it is a "normal" work day, I will surely engage in a normal stream of private communication in person and on email as needed. I simply refrain from being "public" with my thoughts for the day. I imagine my absence will go largely unnoticed.
Why do I choose to be social media silent on September 11th? I guess for a lot of reasons, not all of which I understand, but starting with it just feels like the right thing to do. My remembrance matters no more or less than anyone else's I suppose, but I prefer to quietly reflect on the shared experiences of others as well as my own. It is an opportunity to remember a horrifying and personally terrifying moment in our history, but also to reflect on what has happened since and how it changed me and us as a people, for good and for worse. Maybe I feel like social media in particular has facilitated tearing at the fabric of our human decency, and made it easier to demonize and dehumanize others without having to confront the complexity of their whole selves face to face.
Whatever it is, I take it as a day to simply read and listen and reflect on the many people in my virtual world who go on about their business or mark their remembrance in some different way. It is certainly not ever going to be a "normal" day in my world, so I feel some small peace in not trying to pretend otherwise.
Do I hope to accomplish anything in my absence? Beyond my own personal peace of mind, of course not. While I'd gladly welcome company in my self-imposed day of listening and reflection, it is simply one small gesture of respect in a way that seems to make sense to me. If I think we talk too much and listen too little, then on this day at least let it begin with me. As in all things, you may be of a drastically different opinion, to which you are of course entitled.
Whatever you do, I wish each of us peace, love and understanding in whatever way you observe this milestone. And please trust me; I'll never forget. You don't need to remind me.