The Third Third

A Different Kind of Anniversary

My daughter and her husband gave me permission to remember September 11 in a very different way than most:  they chose it as their wedding day in 2004. 

It was time, she said, to reclaim the day for love. 

Still, we struggled with engraving (letter-pressing, actually) that date on the invitations.  Who were we to declare it was time to move on?  Were we being disrespectful to the victims, the survivors, the memories?  Did we think we could change the course of  politics and international relations?  Or that we could obliterate the powerfully evil forces of Hate and Fear with one blessing of marriage? 

 No, we didn’t, really.  In fact the decision to marry on September 11 had been made for far more practical purposes, such as the availability of the venue and the weather and graduate school schedules and the like.  We were just intent on making it work; and my daughter, in her creative, poetic, passionate way, understood and seized upon the appeal of the concept of redemption.  The groom was on board; so, quickly, were both families; and not one person who was invited said he or she could not come because it was 9/11; actually, hardly anyone said they couldn’t come at all.

It was a gloriously beautiful, magically happy day of explosive wonder and love and laughter.  Life ruled, and I think everyone fell in love with it again, banishing, at the least, our grief in the aftermath of a national tragedy that nothing would ever be the same again.  It wouldn’t be the same, of course, but we had been inspired by joyful, hopeful, loving, shot-tossing young people and their friends to see, after three long, dark years, the rich potential for it to be better. 

It’s not that I forget what happened September 11, 2001.  Who could?  The constant replay of that plane crashing into the World Trade Center is seared into my psyche as permanently as the video of Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Station in 1963.  I pray every year for the victims and to make some sense of what happened.  But I also remember the redemptive power of love, the healing that comes from celebrating with friends and family, and the re-opening to life I experienced at my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding five years ago.  And I remember to send them an anniversary card.

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