I didn’t think I would post anything about 9/11; what could I possibly add? But the reminiscences of friends kept it on my mind. To top it off, my friend Scott Sughrue took these two pictures today at the 9/11 6th anniversary memorial commemoration:
Note the name smack dab in the middle of the second photo: Andrew Curry Green. Actually, it’s Andrew Peter Charles Curry Green, but I guess it hardly seems fair to take up so much more rock than the others.
As much as I just want to move on with life and not be affected by every damn anniversary of the unspeakable events of 9/11/01, we each have our personal story to tell, a way we were affected. For too many of us, that story includes the loss of someone very close.
Andrew, like Scott, is a friend of mine going back nearly 30 years, to when we were all in the Boy Scouts. The group– about 20 or so of us — has remained tight, through college, marriages, children and yes, deaths.
More than any of us, Andrew had a sense of adventure that took him around the country and the world, yet never spurning his roots in the Merrimack Valley, north of Boston. He was also closer to me in age than the rest of the group, who were slightly older, and in those ways I identified with him a bit more.
Andrew, with his wife Shannon, whose friendship also dates back to our teenage years, had recently moved to California for work when I saw him at our annual canoe trip at the end of July, 2001. We all talked a lot about the uncertain economy, and how many of us had either been laid off or feared for our jobs. Andrew was not let go, which is why he was in Boston for business, returning home to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11 (Fates cursed? Check.)
My vivid memories of 9/11 include: the usual watching the events unfold live with disbelieving eyes and jaw dropped; being unable to access news sites on the Internet due to overload– what irony that Akamai, whose founder Danny Lewin also perished on AA 11, had a lot of work to do to keep traffic flowing on the Web; and most notably, watching how upset my boss was when she thought one of her friends may have been on the planes (he wasn’t — he Crackberried his assistant from the tarmac to let people know he was ok).
After I was dismissed early and biked home, picking up my re-soled shoes at the cobbler– amazing the little things you remember, like the 12″ black and white TV at the shop–it wasn’t until that evening I got the call from another of our friends:
That was it. What the hell? Many of you are familiar with the mixtures of grief, rage, depression, anger and helplessness over the following months and years.
We should also recognize the healing of scars, the moving on without forgetting, and the new lives we grew out of the ashes of the old, especially in the case of Andrew’s wife and another dear friend, Shannon.
Another way we move on is by remembering Andrew through the summer camp, Wah-Tut-Ca Scout Reservation, where we all enjoyed the best parts of our youths. A group that Andrew helped found, The Key Foundation, has been raising funds to build a badly-needed boathouse in his name. I have blogged about this project before.
One reason I did not feel like posting originally is that I don’t feel like i should act special that I lost someone I knew that day. Thousands, perhaps, millions, of people were affected similarly, and I didn’t exactly “own” the relationship with Andrew, not when he left a wife, extended family and other friends as close as or closer than I. On the other hand, none of us should have to apologize for feeling, selfishly, a sense of our own loss.
It’s good for the soul.