9/11 at 13: Memory, Memorial, Myth

How Do You Feel About Pearl Harbor?

At some point 9/11 will likely become an anniversary celebrated each ten years.

No matter how compelling the catastrophe, time erodes both the power of it and the decreasing number of people with a personal connection.

People pass on and they are replaced.

You could be half way through a fire/rescue career and have been hired after the seminal and legendary event in our history.

I regularly  take school children, eighth graders mostly, to the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial and I remind myself that they were just born or not even, on that extraordinary day.

They have no “where I was”  story as a frame of reference or grounding in an event that changed the world we live in.

For them and those who follow 9/11 is an epic myth enlivened by memorials and if they are lucky, a first person connection.

PH AZ Memorial

PH AZ Memorial

The front page of the New York Times on the thirteenth anniversary of Pearl Harbor had nary a word about it.

By then that day was most probably given over to those who directly experienced the loss of someone they cared about.

Time can erode the anguish of pain but not the power or force of memories.

That’s a wonderful fact even though the best memory of a magnificent person lost in the whirlwind of 9/11 will always be bittersweet, tinged with the special agony of the suddenness of it all.

Time also affords the distance and the perspective which accompanies it that allows us to understand where 9/11 fits in our collective story.

Thirteen years seems like a long time but we are just now approaching the period where true perspective is possible.

9/11 heroes of every stripe represent an as yet unenumerated ideal that deserves to be carefully defined, understood and passed along as part of our legend, memory and myth.

At this  moment when they are perhaps first obscured by the shadows of time let them be shorn of sainthood but forever cherished as those who went to work that day just like it was any other.




  • David B. says:

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  • Curtis Dunn says:

    Thanks Eric very well written!!!!

  • Robert Davis says:

    Eric, You sure have a talent in witting and expressing how you see things. I have enjoyed reading many of your articles. I specially like how you describe things in your articles that allow’s others to see things as they really are, use to be and will become as time continues on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here on Pearl Harbor and 9-11-2001 attacks on our Country. May we never forget neither one of these times and always honor all those who lost their lives during those times. Teach our children so they too will carry on these important times to always remember so they will never be forgotten and always honored every year.

  • Mike says:

    Well done , one difference is the people who did this are still trying to repeat the events of 9-11. Ten years after Perl Habor the war was over. I don’t think they will ever be able to hijack 4 planes in one day again but they contuine to want to end our way of life. I feel this is what makes 9-11 different from other annversarys.

  • Bill Hand says:

    Right on the money Eric!…Thanks

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