9/11 at 20: A Non-Remembrance

I have no memories of 11 September 2001.

I have memories from earlier in childhood, including plenty of memories of New York, so whether this was perhaps a willful block I know not.

That city has always symbolized resilience—and, ironically, safety—to me personally. Because of events in my early life and my family that necessitated a strong connection to the city in the first place, I was beginning to process some heavy feelings and, being a child, not handling them gracefully. I have many unpleasant memories of the school year 2001-2; it was probably my roughest school year ever. I did a lot of crying. Certainly an attack with attendant destruction and death toll weren’t going to give me any notion that things were secure and stable. I’m sure tensions ran high and everyone was on edge for a long time. After the fact, the next year, I wrote a poem in class that included the line “who fears real enemies,” by which I can only guess I meant terrorists.

As to other specifics, I come up with none.

My dad had just, like literally just, undergone a successful but invasive and taxing open-heart surgery: I’ll let him tell the story. So the Gigliotti household wasn’t its calmest either. These details too are no less hazy to me than the New York City sky was in the ensuing weeks.

I can never forget, because one cannot forget what one does not remember.

There has been more than enough to remember since, though, more than anyone should have to. I hope nations and states go forward with the knowledge that their actions always, always have consequences; and that, while it’s easy to place blame for the past, it is much more difficult and important to take responsibility for the present and the future.

Twenty years of conflict is hard to believe. Here’s to remembrance, the kind that fosters growth.


Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti (she/her) lives in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. She co-hosts and produces the music commentary podcast POD SOUNDS. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, taking city walks, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her heroes. Connect with her on Instagram (@c_m_giglio, @ceciliagphotography, @pod_sounds_podcast) and see what else she's up to (linktr.ee/ceciliagigliotti).

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