Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tears and Laughter

I wrote this post three years ago, but it seems to me to still be relevant. Today my daughter turns 40. That's normally a birthday associated with all sorts of celebrations and teasing. Grief has its place. But so does joy and laughter.~~Anny

Many, many words will be written today commemorating the events of nine years ago. And that is as it should be. The house hunk was actually working in New York City that day only a few blocks from the towers. He didn't get home for three days.

The village we lived in was a bedroom community where many of the firemen and policemen that died that day had homes. We had many orphans in our village from 9/11.

But other things did happen on September 11th, though the events of that day overshadow them and will continue to do so for many years. Thirty seven years ago today, my daughter was born. In 2001 she was supposed to be on an airplane flying into Newark Airport so she could be home for her birthday. Thankfully, her flight was scheduled later in the day so she was safely on the ground when all hell broke loose.

Over the years, her birthday--and those of all the others born this day--somehow get lost in the remembrances for those who died. We talked about this phenomenon one time. She said, "You're probably one of the few who truly understands what it's like." And now I imagine you, the reader wonder why that would be.

The day I turned fourteen, John F. Kennedy was shot. It was as great a shock to the country back then as 9/11 was to the country some forty years later. Every year there were solemn ceremonies and news coverage. And it seemed somehow disrespectful to celebrate something so mundane as a birthday.

Yet--I say yet! Life does go on. Others among us pass away. Lovers dare to marry. New babies are born. And the little celebrations we observe to mark our lives are just as important as the big ones. Soon--within days or a week or two--my daughter will give birth to another precious son. For him, 9/11 will be ancient history, much as Kennedy's assassination is ancient history to most of our current population.

On this day of remembrance let us also observe the celebrations of life as well as death.

Happy Birthday, Julie! May you have a wonderful day. May you live long and celebrate many more. I love you.



  1. Love this post. I haven't seen enough of this perspective shared, and I'm sure the victims killed in the 9/11 tragedy wouldn't want us to cease celebrating life. Happy birthday to Julie. I love your tribute and your writing ability to bring forward deep felt emotions in way that is real.

  2. Happy Birthday Julie.

    My husband's birthday is Apr. 19, shared with the massacre in Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the birthday of Adolph Hitler. I believe it's important to celebrate the good things that happen in the world and not only remember the bad.

  3. I know what you mean. I was born one year to the date of JFK's assassination. I grew up watching the television reports every year on that date.

    Hubby was five when Bobby Kennedy was assassinated on his birthday. It's kinda spooky that we both have Kennedy associations with our birthdays.

    Happy Birthday, Julie!

  4. Happy Birthday Julie.
    Life, love and happiness should prosper most today when we realize, we have the opportunity to live on.

    Love to you Annie.

  5. This is the first year that I have felt just a tiny bit annoyed at all the solemn fuss made over this day. ( And I hope a great heap of hate isn't dumped on me for saying so.) Yes, it was a horrible day. And I remember it so vividly, where I was, who first told me the news, driving to the kids'school to tell them that their dad and I weren't going anywhere. ( We were supposed to fly somewhere.) I remember the looks on the faces of the school ladies in the office, vague but trying to function. But there is a point where remembering loss becomes maudlin and sick. Not respectful.

  6. Thanks for this post, Anny. It's really difficult to have a birthday on one of these days, and you do feel guilty. Sometimes you just want to stand out there and yell "But it's MY birthday!" and then you feel guilty some more....

    Happy birthday to your daughter :-)

  7. I agree, Anny. My daughter's birthday is also on 9/11 and for years, she didn't want to celebrate on her day. But, after talking it over, we all decided that it was her birthday, and others had birthdays and anniversaries on 9/11, too. While we'll never forget the horror of 9/11/01, there are some people who have the right to celebrate their day without guilt.

  8. Happy birthday, Julie.
    And, Anny, what a touching blog.

  9. More of this kind of perspective is needed...Thanks...