Cover of Portraits 9/11/01

I wrote about my 9/11 ritual last year, but I will write about it again this year, and probably in years to come as well, because that is what a ritual is: Something you do over and over again, on a certain day, for a certain occasion.

Last night I took Portraits 9/11/01 off the bookshelf and put it on the ottoman that serves as our coffee table, just to make sure I wouldn’t forget my ritual of reading about some of the people who were killed on 9/11 before I mosey about my day.

I’m afraid 9/11 has reached that point where it is in danger of becoming a fleeting thought, an “Oh yeah, today is September 11th…”  In paging through the Wall Street Journal this morning, I did not find a single mention of 9/11; and that in the newspaper that has the widest circulation of any in the U.S., and is named for a tiny street that was buried in rubble 11 years ago.

Even the Portraits 9/11/01 book has become yesterday’s thought – my heart sank when I checked on Amazon to find it is out of print.

Nevertheless, I spent a few minutes this morning, while sipping my coffee out on the porch, reading some of the obituaries. This always brings back that feeling of dread and loss. This time I was especially struck by how young so many of the victims were, taken from the very middle of their lives, which of course makes sense since they were of the working class, many working in the World Trade Center buildings, or nearby, or rushing in to help.

On a whimsy, I read a few of the first and last entries today. I’m giving you their names, the little epitaph the New York Times came up with, and their age:

Gordy Aamoth – Looking Good (32 years old)
Edelmiro Abad – One Office, Two Families (54)
Andrew and Vincent Abate – Brothers at Work and Play (37 & 44)

Paul Zois – Games as Sacred Rites (46)
Andrew Zucker – A Blessing on the Way (28)
Igor Zukelman – Ugly Car, Beautiful Dream (29)

May their memory be a blessing.