Remembering my friend; remembering everyone

Posted on September 11, 2008. Filed under: Health, Music, Philosophy, Spirituality |

Last year, I didn’t write anything about 9/11/2001. Even after all that time, it felt too tender; too close. It is now the seventh anniversary of that event, and it still seems fresh in my memory. There is much in the news, as there’s bound to be, about it all; presidential candidates honoring memories together; other politicians giving politically charged but hopefully respectful speeches; families remembering their loved ones in their own ways.

I did read some 9/11 blog posts last year, and commented on one which touched me. In his response, my blog friend suggested that I post about how I spent the very first anniversary of 9/11, back in 2002, and so I am, a year after that suggestion. This post is as much about my friend Anne as it is about the impact of 9/11 on those I knew. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Anne, who passed away on the last day of July of this year. Since then, a few people have asked if her memorial service has been held yet. I deferred asking the family, as they had deferred definitiveness. I figured there were family reasons for delaying it for so long; there are three children in the family as well as a couple of grandkids. Was it school? work? I learned that the service had finally been scheduled to be held more than two months after the death. I didn’t want to ask too many questions as I didn’t want to intrude, but I saw Anne’s husband the other day, and he explained it to me. Their daughter’s second baby is due this month, and she had been forbidden to fly, or even take long car trips this close to the delivery date.

Oh! Of course! Now I remember. When we had our last visit, Anne spoke of how excited she was about this new baby. She planned to fly up north where the baby would be born, to help out and get to know her new grandchild. How could I have forgotten this? So, the newborn will be making the trip next month and will be introduced to the home and memories of the grandmother s/he will never know.

What does all this have to do with 9/11, though? It was in planning our local memorial event in 2002 that I first really got to know Anne. She and I were both on the committee that organized our “Rolling Requiem”, a world-wide choral event which would begin, in each time zone, at exactly 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the first tower in September 2001. Instead of offering only grief and anger, this event would offer music; the most glorious choral piece the organizers could imagine; Requiem by W.A. Mozart. The word “requiem” refers to “Requiem Mass” or “Mass for the Dead” in Roman Catholic literature. But the words, and particularly the music, transcend all cultures and religions. If you saw the film or some settings of the stage play Amadeus, this was the music playing when Mozart himself lay dying.ย ย 

The Rolling Requiem in 2002 was a tribute to all who lost their lives or helped others on that tragic day a year earlier. The choral group I sang with joined with other groups and individuals in our area to host over 350 singers for this day. (We normally have about 60.) Each of us wore a badge with the name of a person who had perished, whether rescuer, victim, or participant. The large concert hall space was donated (nearly unprecedented) and all the professional soloists and orchestra members also donated their time and talent (almost unheard of). It was broadcast on local television and radio, and nearly every timezone heard their own local choruses singing the same masterpiece as the Requiem rolled around the world.

Our choral group had never put together an event of such magnitude, and Anne was instrumental in getting everything organized and publicized. We only had four rehearsals before the day, and our director worked miracles in getting such wonderful sound out of such a diverse group—from high school age through senior choirs—in such a short time. Among the many memories I shared with Anne, this would remain close to both our hearts. I will always associate her with this day, this memorial time.

Blessings to all, of every culture, every belief system, and every political leaning as we pause for a moment in time to cherish each other and allow love into our hearts. Namastรฉ; Peace; Salaam; Shalom.

“Imagine a world standing together to remember.
Humanity gathered for a moment in time,
to lift up its voice in song, in prayer,
in honor of those who perished one year before.

On September 11, 2002, it happened.”

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21 Responses to “Remembering my friend; remembering everyone”

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A very moving memorial post, both for your friend and for the wider world.

Peace. May we never forget.

Truth be told, I have disdain for the 9/11 memorial services, because it has been the tool that the government has used to manipulate us. Think about it: 9/11 was so mentally disarming that we, and the folks in government, didn’t think about what we were doing and pushed the panic button; recall all the flags waving and the “God Bless America” bumper stickers after 9/11. Our shock was turned into rage against whoever was deemed to be the perpetrator of the attacks, no matter if it was really them or not. By getting so angry, by denying rationality, we let our leaders get us into 2 false wars, capitalizing on the fear of another 9/11.

And the worst part is that the victims, in addition to losing their lives, have been used as political pawns to push an agenda. Is that how they’d wanted to have been remembered — as motivation for more killing? No. They’d want peace, and our vindictive nature as a country after 9/11 has gone against that.

I think that is a wonderful and meaningful way to give tribute on 9/11.
Though I agree politicians use it as a tool. There are millions who need and want to find some small way to share their grief over this. To show they care and support the ones left behind to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

Beautiful post Muse. I had not heard of the Rolling Requiem, but it is a wonderful tribute. I continued over and read about Anne. I’m with you about feeling her presence as I have just experienced a loss myself not 3 months ago.

I understand what leapsecond is saying and agree. The victims should not be used as pawns for political agendas.

Whether it is 9/11, Pearl Harbor, or any other senseless act of terrorism, the bottom line still remains. Innocent lives are taken, families are torn apart and a nation is left shaken. All we can do is come together and help one another grieve and heal regardless of the politics involved. Your committee composed a beautiful performance, you and Anne were instrumental together…and continue to be so in your heart and memories of her.

I forgot to tell you that I’m still so sorry about Anne. Waiting for the birth of her grandchild seems somehow fitting. ((((hugs muse))))

Muse, you certainly have a wonderful way with words. Beautiful post. I had not heard of the Rolling Requiem until now, but it certainly sounds like it was an excellent way to pay tribute on 9/11, and must have been an honor to participate in.

I’ll never forget when it happened, my teacher turned the news on in the classroom instead of continuing our trig lesson. The other students saw this as sort of “free time” and used it to chit-chat and gossip rather than pay attention. Until the teacher yelled for everyone to be quiet and watch. She said that this was something that would change our lives forever. And she was 100% correct.

It’s sad that it took something as tragic as 9/11 to bring out the best in people, even if it was short lived. It gave us a glimpse of what our world would be like if people could just put aside their differences (race, religion, whatever else it may be) and show compassion towards one another.

We must never forget that day.

Thank you very much, B0bby. I appreciate your support. These memories mean a great deal to me. Peace to you also, my friend.

Hello, leapsecond, it seems all this memorial talk has touched a nerve!
I understand what you are saying, but I myself have never taken any of the actions, nor felt the feelings (towards either those considered perpetrators or victims) you suggest are “ours”.
I concur heartily with what you surmise those who died that day may have wanted. In fact the last paragraph of my post (before the quote) expresses that very thing. In the first-year commemoration that I recall today, we never sought to engage in anger or blame. We offered music to soothe the soul. Nothing more. Nothing less. And I wish you peace as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, BD. My aim is ever to encourage healing; to allow joy. I can’t speak to the motivation of politicians, as I don’t travel in those circles, but I do know that every emotion I hold and claim as my own helps to manifest the world I see. Choral singing and organizing are what I know to do, and realizing that this glorious music moved like a wave around the world, all that day long, brought me and many others much joy and comfort. Thank you also for your words (and hugs!!!) regarding Anne. It seems strange that I will be able to meet the grandchild she had so looked forward to welcoming. I hope, through us, that the newborn will feel some of the love her/his grandmother was looking forward to sharing. {{{hugs to you!}}}

Welcome, apinkykiss, and thank you for joining the discussion. Thank you also for taking the time and care to read my other post about my friend. My condolences go to you on your own loss. I think the best thing we can do to honor those who left us that day, as well as ones we’ve lost more recently, is to hold love in our hearts, and act from there. The choral performance was indeed beautiful to hear and to experience. Your kind words remind me of that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Shane, how very nice of you to say so! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was indeed an honor and privilege to participate in such a coming together.
It must have been quite a juxtaposition to go from trig to towers and pentagon and field. I’m sure the other students didn’t understand the magnitude of it all at first, as young as you all were back then. Your “glimpse of what the world would be like” moved me greatly. You express beautifully in writing, too, you know!

I loved this post. I had 5 people die in it ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Thank you kaylee. You lost 5 people on 9/11/01? I’m so sorry, this must be a sad day each year for you. I’m glad you found this post meaningful.

Thank you for a very moving post and thank you for offering something other than grief and anger. Leapsecond seems to have found his/her own reason for anger; we always do, myself included. Ego always manages to justify the need to attack. Indeed, that is it’s function.
I lost no one on that tragic day and I have no right to tell others how to process their grief. But I would ask folks to think about how to best honor the memories of loved ones and how they would like to be honored were the situation reversed.
I have no answer as to how we should have acted as a nation. I only know how I have come to view the many pieces of the puzzle we find ourselves in now. I will keep my own counsel for the most part but in the spirit (I hope) of MusEditions efforts to honor all those who left us too soon I would ask why, when we chant “God bless America” are WE so stingy with God’s blessings. Often, when I end meditations, I ask that God bless the World; the Universe and especially those whose fear and rigidity, like Osama bin Laden and George Bush, have placed our planet in such peril. I reason that if they are blessed then they will know peace and peace and war cannot coincide in the same heart. Perhaps I am wrong; they are only thoughts…and yet…and yet…Peace to All.
P.S. Apologies to Leapsecond, I did not mean to be critical, only to make a point about ego, whose spell we are all under.

I was there in long island when 9/11 happened. I remember the day and feel sorry for all those who lost their lives and those who still suffer because of that. Though, I also remember how P said I had to wear my bindi, not wear Indian clothes even while going to a temple for fear to be persecuted as a Muslim! I remember how though eager to donate blood (my group being a rare one, was still not allowed as I had not had 3 continuous years of stay in the US. I was in the pink of my health!) Somehow, the tragedy stuck as one that has been manipulated for political gains and feels like only those who have suffered really think about it that way- Sorry to sound so jaded!
My condolences to Anne and those who know her. I wish she were around to see her grandkid she was so excited about.
A really nice post as usual from you though. Btw, you have been tagged here here

What a beautiful post, Muse. Thank you for sharing about the Rolling Requiem. What a beautiful way to remember those who lost their lives on that unforgettable day, September 11, 2001.

There are only a handful of days in my life where I can remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the news. 9/11 is one of those moments. The Challenger disaster is another. And, I will never forget hearing of JFK’s assisination. My third grade teacher broke into tears when she told our class.

Praying for peace…May the Lord watch over us and keep us safe.

Eric, I have a bumper sticker which says: “God bless everyone. No exceptions.” I don’t actually have it on my car, but I have it propped up on a shelf and it reminds me to reconsider when I’m feeling inappropriately partial to a person, or a group, or a country. I won’t go into who or what I suppose God is, but I so agree, ego is a constant companion which gets out of hand from time to time! ๐Ÿ™‚ I too, feel very differently about nationalism, events, and political positions than I used to, but I’m most interested in transcending all that and just being the best kind of person I can in the world. Thank you very much for your thoughts; I believe I’d be most interested in your expanded views.

So, you were quite close to the scene, then, Apar. I have family in New York and New Jersey, although I was far away at the time. I’m so sorry that you felt you might be persecuted; and I’ll admit your fear was not unfounded. I live near an area where a Sikh business owner (who, as Sikhs do, was wearing his turban at the time) was shot and killed not too long after the 9/11 events. This sort of ignorance and intolerance just added to our collective sadness. I remember this man, and the one who killed him, at this time as well. You were very kind to think of donating blood in order to help! I didn’t know about that 3-year rule; it must have been frustrating to be turned away because of that. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and for your words. You have the experience of living in two very different countries, and I so admire your openness! Thank you also for the tag. I shall write a post about it…but it may not be what you expect! ๐Ÿ™‚

Amen, teeveebee, I very much appreciate your kind words! The Rolling Requiem was just the best thing I could think of to do. It seemed appropriate to turn the community spirit many of us were feeling towards healing and hope. Yes, I also remember exactly where I was, and imagine I always shall.

All the instruction and wisdom we need is in the title of this post: “Re-membering my friend/everyone.” Being one again with all expressions of the all that is, as if we could ever not be a part of it.

Ah, but to be aware of that connection. Posts such as this one, though they may appear to be about loss are, I feel, a subtle acknowledgment that separation is only an idea. For if we can hold these loved ones in our perceptual memories,and if perception is reality, then on the subjective level they have never left us. True, there will be no new interactions with them in this quantum reality, and I don’t know about you, but I occasionally turn to the best parts of those who I knew (know) and get comfort from them.

The thought came to me recently that everyone I’ve ever known was/is an angel, even the ones I disliked or hated. Maybe especially the ones I disliked or hated. They’re all in my life to teach me lessons. No matter that I’m too stupid to learn, or even be aware of them at the time, their function does not change. And angels can’t die, can they?

So yes, I grieve over loved ones who have passed on too, but at some point I know that, to paraphrase Jackson Browne, they would rather we were dancing, dancing our sorrows away. From “For A Dancer”. Peace to all.

Indeed, angels are eternal, Eric, how lovely to think of them that way. I generally consider everyone I interact with a teacher, as they all—like you—have something to show me. The angel image puts a smile on my face, though, whereas the “teacher”…not as much. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ah, you mention the quantum reality, which fascinates me endlessly. I’ve been studying this for a while (I’m not a scientist, but I like to read about it) and have recently been treated to some new insights about quantum entanglement. Post forthcoming. I appreciate you sharing this; Dance on!

I could even understand the persecution that happened; but just did not understand the sending away of donors while flashing news to get more! All they had to do was test the blood for infections which they have to do anyways, right? If it was good, at least would have helped one suffering person! My friends and I were ticked off because of that.

btw, waiting to see what ur response for the tag will be ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks, Apar. It will probably still be a couple of days before I finish my response to your tag. I’ve used it within another post; hope you will like the results. ๐Ÿ˜‰

[…] 2001. This anniversary has always been poignant and deeply emotional for me, as I reported in my post from last year on this date. What’s different for me, and many I have observed, is that the immediacy of the […]

[…] has been my tradition to post something about the events of September 11, 2001 on the anniversary of that day. This may […]

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