Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Reflections on September 11, 2001

Posted by allhoff on September 7, 2011

Ten years ago this month, Al Qaeda executed the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. For young adults in their 20s and 30s today, this occurred at a very formative time in our lives. I was 15, and will never forget hearing the news over my high school’s public address system. Completely unable to do my homework that evening, I instead wrote the following poem:

A Plea for Understanding

Planes crashing into buildings.
Mushroom clouds of ash chasing
Fleeing citizens through narrow streets.
It’s as if I am living in a nightmare.
There is no other way such a
Thing could possibly happen.
I am ready to wake up now.

I feel like I’m watching a
Hollywood movie, like Independence Day,
Where they often have scenes with
Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather relaying the news.
Except the director has fallen asleep
And the camera isn’t moving away from the news broadcast,
Making it seem real.
Things like this don’t happen anywhere
Except the movies.
Major landmarks don’t disappear.
They just don’t.
I want to press the stop button,
But I can’t.

Or perhaps this is just an elaborate
Hoax, like when The Capital Times had a picture of
Lake Mendota drained from construction of the
Monona Terrace Center.
That’s it.
This is somebody’s idea of a big
Joke.

Sometimes I wonder if humans really are the
Smartest species on this planet.
How could people be so stupid and rash?
How could people be so evil?
Would an ape knock down his neighbor’s tree?
Would a beaver destroy another’s dam?
The thought of what has happened makes me
Sick.

Yet isn’t it amazing how it takes such
Evil to bring out the best in us?
Lines of blood donors blocks long,
Strangers hugging and holding hands.
It is a beauty within an evil within a beauty.

Only after hours of thought did I come to
Understand that I could not understand.
I don’t know that I will ever understand.
Part of one of the most famous skylines in the world is
Forever gone.
Thousands of people, each an individual with
Thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs, are
Forever gone.
A plane has crashed into a building.

These are the kinds of things that happen in
Movies and nightmares.
But things like this just don’t happen in the
Real world.

Do they?

For many of us, the events of that day leave a lasting mark, and partially define who we are as individuals. When anniversaries–and especially significant anniversaries–roll around, it is important to reflect and emote with peers and loved ones. Jews’ Next Dor is proud to be hosting a screening of United 93 on the night of September 11. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, registration for this event has already closed. If you didn’t make the cut, however, we highly encourage you to watch this incredible movie–with company–in the near future.

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