During a vigil to remember the Machester Bombing victims, someone broke out into this twenty-year-old song. The Gallagher brothers probably had another meaning, if they weren’t busy hating each other publically, but people connected with the melody and the lyrics. We had how many bombings now? That’s only the ones we heard about on the news. Nobody remarks on anything blowing up in Iraq or anywhere else.
I’m tired. Are you?
Isn’t anyone tired of the Islamophobia? Nobody batted an eyebrow at the Irish Republican Army, and they’re about as Catholic as these idiots are Muslim. Did we have an Irish travel ban? Did travel restrictions and no-fly lists happen for those with Irish surnames? The bombs weren’t the weapon, they’re just the catalyst. Anger, now that’s a weapon, particularly rage. People have lived in rage for years, and it’s a race to the bottom like an addict knowing the high will wear off and preparing for the next fix.
In February of 2016, I went to New York City on a solo trip. On a Sunday morning, before the city that never slept woke up, I took the subway to the 9/11 grounds. The first thing I heard was the roar of water from the two memorial pools marking the site of the two towers. Around the pools, names of people who died from the bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald to the Bangladesh immigrant, a Muslim, both earning their livings. They worked at the Pentagon, others brought down a plane to prevent more loss. The stories I heard from that day say the same thing, people called to say one last I love you.
I didn’t go into the actual museum. I broke down on one of the benches, the roar of the water in my ears, a policeman approaching me with concern on his face. He asked if I knew anyone and I sheepishly replied no. The wall-to-wall coverage put people on the ground as the towers fell to dust, I people gathered around the TVs at Radio Shake at Grant Park, staring in disbelief. More than the towers fell, our sense of ourselves fell too, and many stayed angry.
It’s part of grief yet at some point, it needs to flow somewhere like the water in the memorial pools. The planes in the towers served like large stones dropped in the water, the ripples cascading out, and we still feel the ripple years down the line. At some point anger turns harmful, the constant stress producing hormones making people literally sick. Nobody asked people to forget and discount what happened. At some point, we have to look forward and make sure we go to together, all of us not some of us, or we don’t move at all. We look back not in anger but to prevent another from happening. It’s easier to build a tower again, it’s harder to make meaning from an event and move forward.