I’m worried. The kind where it is hard to sleep.

I wasn’t going to post this yesterday. It didn’t seem right with all of the emotions people were felling about the events of September 11, 2001. I’ve written my own reactions and reflections before. I thought I’d posted them on this blog. Looks like I am remembering things incorrectly. Oh well.

As I was saying, I was driving to my internship on Sunday morning and, as is my custom, I was listening to National Public Radio. They were broadcasting pieces of the memorial services for 9/11. Several things struck me. There was a difference between the locations that mark tragedy. From the broadcast, the Pentagon’s memorial was done with military precision and a strong military presence. Shankesville was something entirely different. And at Ground Zero, from what I understood, no members of the clergy, NYPD or NYFD spoke. I changed the channel when I couldn’t listen anymore and turned to the oldies station.

There they played American Rock … from Paul McCartney. Last I checked, Sir Paul was not an American. This was also being done in memory of 9/11.

So many people have posted on facebook, twitter, and blogged about their own reactions and yet, I think this country is missing something. We are having a crisis of state religion.

What, you ask? How can a republic have a state religion? Think about 4th of July and the rituals that take place. Think about the inauguration of the president. Each of those moments are replete with state religion. The tenth anniversary of 9/11 was a day for such ritual and it just wasn’t there. The United States does not know how to mark time as anymore. I believe we once did. The days of Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day once were times to remember the fallen and honor the heroes. In 2011 they’re cause for sales at shopping malls and long weekends.

In my opinion, 9/11 needs to be a day about remembering the victims of the attacks on American soil, acknowledging the terror that many people experience now that they never did before 9/11/01, and honoring those who died fighting the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the veterans in our midst. Not a lot needed to be said, silence at the appropriate moments might have been best. This is not a moment for one religious voice to prevail. Instead it is a time for a global message of peace among humankind.

Did you attend a memorial service for 9/11 that was meaningful to you?

Sunday School started and I spent the morning with eager young people running into a synagogue looking forward to seeing friends and learning new things. Parents joined the community, too and stayed for almost three hours engaging in their own learning and meeting their children’s teachers. I cannot think of a more fitting way to spend September 11 this year or any other. In education there is hope and in hope will be peace.

About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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1 Response to I’m worried. The kind where it is hard to sleep.

  1. We did have a ceremony at our shul – check my blog for a bit of detail. I’d say there were 250 people there, about 75 of them children, since it was right before the start of religious school. I didn’t do much about the anniversary, but almost all that I did was religious in context. Maybe that’s just me though.

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