As a new New Yorker, I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to commemorate 9/11 like the people who lived here when the attacks occurred. This was my second 9/11 in town and to say that things feel different would be a lie, there are no mournful faces in the subway, newspaper magazines remembering the tragic date are lost between portraits of Miley Cyrus and a Kardashian sister on the tabloids and traffic never ceases; after all this is the city that never sleeps.
As someone who now lives here, and as a human being who can’t help but be moved by insurmountable tragedy, I can’t help but be more pensive on a date that reminds me that all of this could just end without a warning. What if someone, somewhere decided to hijack a plane, wear an explosive vest or craft a homemade bomb in his basement and I unexpectedly became a victim? These were the thoughts I, morbidly, kept trying to avoid while watching The Rugby Player, a fantastic documentary that celebrates the short life of Mark Bingham, one of the heroes of United flight 93. Read more –
Reflecting on one’s mortality in the face of other people’s death might be the most natural thing to do as people and watching Bingham’s life onscreen constantly reminded me of that quote from The Hours in which Virginia Woolf expresses “someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.” This might not be much solace to the people left behind by the deceased, but on few occasions had I been so touched by the consequences of a life that at first glance seemed so un-extraordinary.