Is media a needed part of anniversary?

Published 12:22am Friday, September 9, 2011

How will you spend your Sept. 11?

It wasn’t a question I had considered until I read the words of Anne Mikolay Wednesday night.

About two weeks ago the steady drumbeat of Sept. 11 stories and news programs started. Magazine covers devoted to the 10th anniversary of the biggest terrorist attack on American soil appeared on grocery store racks about the same time commercials for anniversary specials emanated on television screens.

Recent news articles about the tragedy have covered almost every angle — from stories about the children of parents who died in 9/11 to the lasting effects the tragedy will have on the American economy. One column even asked what our country would look like if 9/11 had not happened.

In the past days, I have considered a few of those articles and stopped to witness, once again, the unimaginable events of that morning.

A simple timeline of events from the moment the planes left Boston through the following days, viscerally brought back all of my emotions from 10 years ago. And then I read Anne Mikolay’s words on a New Jersey news website.

I don’t know much about Mikolay. She didn’t start writing her “Armchair Critic” column for the Atlantic Highlands Herald until 2008. From having read just a small sample of her writing, I think she lost her husband when the towers fell 10 years ago, but doesn’t say for certain.

What she does say is that she will not spend this year’s anniversary reliving the tragedy.

“Why? For the same reason I will not watch any of the 9/11 television specials I have seen advertised,” she writes. “Though produced for posterity (and perhaps for ratings) and important for remembrance of our nation’s greatest tragedy, I view the networks’ offerings as personally superfluous. I don’t need to see video of the towers falling; I well remember watching them fall. I don’t need to relive that horrible day that is indelibly branded in my memory. I remember it all very, very well.”

She continues.

“On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, I will not recount my experience, nor pontificate on the battle of good versus evil, nor lecture on the irony of Bin Laden’s death occurring in the 10th anniversary year of what he unleashed upon the world. I could go on and on and on about such things, but I won’t. I’ll say only this: my family (and so many other families) lost a super human being that day. I think of him often and most deeply on Sept. 11. On this 10th anniversary of his passing, I don’t need the media reminding me of what we lost or telling me how to remember him.”

She continues wondering if it is callous not to read the articles or watch the television programs, in particular those devoted to the “children of 9/11” who were born after their parents died in the tragedy. In a sad way, she writes, the people in her community were all children of 9/11.

Mikolay then ends her column with the following words:

“What more is there to say about 9/11? What more is there to do, other than pray for the souls of the departed and those left behind, and beseech the Lord for peace in the world, and grace to move forward? We don’t need television programs, magazines, or newspaper columns to do that.”

Amen.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.

  • Anonymous

    VERY TOUCHING, THE PEOPLE DIRECT INVOLVED, AND THERE FAMILY, HAVE BEEN OVER LOOKED UNTIL THIS DAY. MONTHS AFTER 9/11, ALL YOU HEARD WAS; ALL OF THE SUPPORT THE FAMILY MEMBER WOULD RECEIVE, THAT WAS JUST TALK. READING WHAT ANN SAID; I FEEL HER PAIN.  

  • Anonymous

    I agree.  Mikolay’s last paragraph sums it up.  Every time 9/11 has been mentioned in the past 10 years, I stop and pray for those who died, their families and all those who witnessed it first hand.  I also pray for God’s Blessings on all the people who are trying to bring about world peace.