The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Sunday, September 11, 2011
Current Affairs ... Personal Reflections ...

I didn’t go to any of the 9-11 memorial services today marking the 10th anniversary of the attack, although I was listening to the live radio coverage from the Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. Instead, I went to a “tombstone uncovering” ceremony at a Jewish cemetery, to remember a fellow from my Zen group who passed away back in January. He lived to age 87 and had a long, full life including marriage, combat service in the Army during WW2, running a successful accounting firm, on-going involvement with his synagogue, and regular attendance at our zendo.

While at the cemetery, I was looking around at the writings on the other “memorial stones”. I’m used to tombstones from Christian cemeteries, which don’t usually say much other than a short quote from the New Testament. The Jewish stones I saw today had a lot of interesting sayings on them, by contrast.

The saying that I would like to share here today is actually my own mis-reading of what the stone actually says. Let’s start with reality; the stone says: “Do Not Remember Me With Tears But With Smiles”. My own misreading of it goes like this: “Do Not Measure Life With Years But With Smiles”.

Mr. Meador, who we gathered to remember today, left us with a lot of smiles. Interestingly enough, his older brother was there at the service, and he looks quite a bit like his late brother. As I was leaving, I turned for one last look at him, and he was sitting on his walker and getting some rest, but smiling just like his brother did. That brought back memories, good memories.

I know that it’s still awfully hard for the survivors of the 9-11 victims to smile, or even remember the smiles in their lives before that terrible day came. My continued hopes and prayers are offered, that they and the entire country, nay the entire world, may someday smile again; and that we can measure our lives in smiles, instead of tearful years.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 3:43 pm      

  1. Jim, I did not watch very much of the ceremonies for 9/11. I have to confess I had mixed feelings about it all. Yes, it’s important to remember those who died. But I also thought of all the others who suffered from a loved one’s death not connected to the attack.

    Yes, it’s good to remember those who died, and the 10th annivesary and the new memorials are a good time to specially remember them. But I found myself wondering about the whole grief process. In most cases by the time 10 years has passed, one has started on the way to making one’s life without the person, even tho the person may still remain in the forefront of one’s memory. Such memorials as those on Sunday caused people to relive their early grief. Without all due respect to those who died and those who had to live without their loved ones, I did find myself wondering just what purpose bringing back those raw memories served those who were learning to live their lives without the loved one. Maybe I’m being harsh here, but I cannot help but think that at this point the better part may be to allow people to live their lives and move forward.

    While I was most relieved and happy that there was no additional attack here Sunday. I also found myself wondering just how much of the memorials was designed to play up the whole threat of a terrorist attack again, just how much of the memorials had a political purpose.

    I also noticed that the terrorist attack in Afghanistan on Sunday went almost unnoticed–except, I’m sure, by those who were either left bereft of a loved one and/or were wounded in that attack.

    Having lived through too many deaths of loved ones myself I feel I can say: Now I think it’s time the nation and survivors to settle down to ongoing life. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — September 12, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

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