I went to the New York State Museum the other day to check this out. When I was done
munching on chocolate dropping big cash supporting the local vendors, I decided to visit an ongoing exhibition at the museum dedicated to the events of September 11, 2001.
I cry every time I see this exhibit. It brings me back to that day; the fear, sadness, anger and confusion that I felt. But it's also a beautiful reminder of the victories. It showcases the heroic efforts of rescue workers, lives that were saved, and memorial projects like the USS New York, a ship built from steel from the fallen towers.
There was a lot going on that day at the Museum and Plaza. The Chocolate Festival, a craft fair, a train show and a tree lighting to name a few things. So the place was filled with families, and kids. I noticed a group of three kids come in to the 9/11 exhibit right after me. The boy jumped up on a display and sat on a piece of steel - to pose for a silly picture.
I wondered how anyone could be so disrespectful. I mean - this is a very big deal; a big thing that just happened. Then I realized - no, it didn't. It happened over nine years ago. These kids couldn't have been more than 12 or 13 - which means 9/11 is something they'll only learn about in school. It's not something they lived through. It's not real to them - it's just another exhibit in the museum.
Still - to people like me, it's very, very real. Which got me thinking about all the anniversaries I overlook. Things that I learned in a text book in eleventh grade, but don't pay much attention to since passing my final. Dates that mean a lot to others; that represent their own loss, sadness and anger. I overlook those dates and, without meaning to, show disrespect to people who lost a lot, and sacrificed to make sure I'm safe, and free.
I grew up in Albany. I've been to that museum dozens of times. I don't think I've ever learned a lesson that will stick with me as much as this one will. I wish I'd thought to say thank you to that boy and his friends.
Instead - I'll remember to say thank you to someone today. Not sure why? Google today's date. Then find someone to thank.