I did not want to write about the anniversary of attacks. Not because they aren't important, but because I feel I didn't have much to add. But this morning, on Instagram, I saw someone post a "Never Forget" message. That person was in their teens, and would not have been able to remember the attacks.

Strangely enough, "Never Forget" has begin to cloud the original memory of the attacks. All memories are subtly altered: sometimes I remember listening to a song at a certain time, and then realize that the song wasn't released yet. I think many of us have started to edit our memories, bit by bit. And as mentioned, American high school students and perhaps college students are too young to remember the attacks.

I am not saying this as an act of political revisionism. It is true that (as far as I remember), the idea of the attacks as an opening blow in an existential conflict between the West and Islam wasn't present at the time of the attacks. In fact, for the first few days after the attacks, the culprits were still unknown. For the first few weeks after the attacks, we didn't say "9/11". That was a later coinage, and at the time the attacks were referred to under a variety of names. This is just my memory, but there wasn't anger or even fear as much as there was stunned confusion. The attacks seemed so improbable at the time. And for myself, the scariest act of terrorism actually came afterwards, with the anthrax letters. I was worried about large scale biological attacks. These didn't materialize, and the anthrax letters are seen as a footnote to history.

I guess my point is that when people say "Never Forget", they are focusing on not forgetting September 11th as a symbol. A symbol of various things, some good, some bad. But what I remember, in a jumble of images, is the shock and disbelief, going to the store to buy a hundred dollars worth of grocery, walking around trying to make sense of it all, and then the three or four days of silent skies. I am sure that already I have forgotten details, and fabricated new ones to take their place. But my memory is still very clear.