Whereas most Americans recede into a deep, somber remembrance mode at this time of year, I don't.
Not because I don't mourn the tragedy that was visited upon the world, drastically changing the meaning of "9-11" in our lives.
Not because I'm politically antithetical to the current establishment and administration, their policies, their actions, their rhetoric, their combative and destructive elitist morality, among other things.
Not because I don't believe the official story of what occurred on this date, now six years ago. Not because I feel no grief for the victims-- those who lost their lives, gave their lives in service of others, their families, or anyone horrified and haunted by the images that played over and over and over on channel upon channel for hours, days, weeks after it happened. Not because I am skeptical of our leaders' alibis and denials of complicity in missing warning signs, not reacting sufficiently or rapidly or decisively enough, both at the time of the incident, and the ongoing "War On Terror."
No. None of that.
While it may be true that I have opinions and beliefs that run counter to the pervasive, collective mythology that surrounds and reinforces the way most people continue to characterize the events of September 11, 2001, it is not at the root of why I feel a great disconnect from the memorials, the moments of silence, and even the celebrations commemorating heroism and selflessness.
I empathize with the victims, their families, the first-responders-- all those who suffered so greatly on that day, and continue to suffer since. I'm not looking to take anything away from them, or purport that I understand what any one of them has gone through, or continues to go through; Nor do I wish any ill-will or mean any disrespect whatsoever to any human being that was affected, directly or indirectly, by the ghastly, horrific events which unfolded beginning that morning, and continue unfolding and rippling through the collective consciousness to this day.
I'm just being honest. I wasn't really there. Not all the way, anyway. And now, six years later, I'm still trying to put the puzzle back together...
You see, I had experienced my own personal "9-11" of sorts, a little more than a month before "9-11" was a distinct, iconic, gravely descriptive term.
I had gone on vacation, off to Greece with my wife and an old friend and several of his family members and extended family members and friends. And near the end of the adventure, I had my own catastrophic collapse that changed my life. Forever.
Only I experienced the trauma, every aching second, dismally and utterly alone.
There were no images broadcast throughout the world, or even to friends and family, or people in my close vicinity. Yes, others were traumatized, as I was, by what I was going through, not the least of which was my wonderful, steadfastly supportive and loving wife.
But six years... and I still grope for words. I have recollection; I remember emotions, some specific events and some horrific interpretations, hallucinations, and discomfort. I remember wild, dynamic, fantastic images of grandeur; scenarios that my mind played out, and presented to some conscious part of me. I wrestled with random thoughts, madly weaving hyper-psychotic threads into patchwork garments of broken logic. Somehow, I was there (wherever that was), experiencing these things along with my mind, my body, my perceptions... But I was also somewhere else.
All of the tools that I usually had at my disposal to assist me in assessing my well-being, my sense of self-- my very location in the space-time continuum-- were at least malfunctioning, if not completely broken. I lost track of Who I was, Where I was, What I was, What I was doing, What I had done-- all context was suspect. And thus, anything and everything was believable, somehow logical. Anything and everything was possible.
This is the hyper-astounding, thrillingly perilous double-edged sword of an experience, which was later diagnosed (much later, in fact) as a manic episode.
What would follow, after hospitalization, stabilization, medication, and a return to the familiarity of coming home, would be a deep clinical depression, lasting for the better part of two years.
So forgive me if my perspective differs from yours.