When I was young, my parents would mention that they remembered where they were when they first heard President Kennedy had been shot. They even had old newspapers which covered the assassination stashed away. While I understood this saying to signify a terrible event in US history, I could never fully understand the gambit of emotions that they felt with their fellow Americans, and the rest of the world, on that day. How could I? I wasn’t there. I always knew it was tragic, but did not personally experience that tragedy.
What has been able to help me understand their comments is reflection upon the 20 year anniversary of 9/11. I remember exactly where my family and I were. I remember talking with my oldest sister on the phone as history unfolded. I remember the non-stop news updates, countless stories of heroics, and the people we knew who were supposed to be in those towers that day, but weren’t. It’s not only the terrible occurrences of that day we remember, but the shared raw emotions we experienced together as a nation. This is why our brains were able to pinpoint and recall exact minutiae of that day.
Through it all, we as a nation and a people heal. Not back to the way we were, but to how we will be moving forward. There are many scars and cuts, yet we still continue. It’s much like Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer laced with powdered gold. We can heal, but we will never be the same. We will never be the way we were, but we are still beautiful moving forward.