Today is 9/11. But then, you probably knew that. There’s no way of escaping it; the first thing I saw this morning was a Facebook page full of 9/11 memorial images. And that’s lovely, but I’ve noticed another trend that makes me angry: grief justification.
You know what I’m talking about. “I lost __ friends in 9/11. Don’t talk to me about how upset you are.” As if the rest of us have no right to mourn the dead. As if the rest of us have no right to look at the aftermath, at the political and societal fallout from 9/11, and say, as Americans, “Our nation has changed for the worse.”
We all suffered on 9/11. Some of us lost family members and friends. Some of us spent the morning trying to call our loved ones in New York and D.C., desperately hoping that once the lines were clear, a familiar voice would answer the phone. Some of us in larger cities were afraid we might be next. Some of us just ached because our fellow Americans were suffering. Because our country was suffering.
There’s no universal scale for grief, and no one should have to defend it. We don’t need to justify our hurt. We shouldn’t make a contest out of sadness.
We’re Americans. We’re in this together. We built this country together, and we’ve given blood and tears to defend it together. Today, we should mourn together, and tomorrow, we’ll continue to heal together.