September 11 in History: Just the Good Stuff

September 10, 2011
Annapolis Building 1772
Today I got to thinking about how frustrated I feel when people keep bringing up "9-11", a tragic event that happened in America ten years ago, that has since become "Patriot's Day" and a day of remembrance for the victims and service men that were killed.  Every year, about this time, I keep hearing about the horror of 9-11, they show the images on the news, in the papers, online.  It got under my skin to the point that I decided that I just don't want to forever recall this day as a "day of horror" or remembrance of this single event.  I wanted to seek out "the good stuff" that has happened on September 11th throughout history, so I might share this with my sons and explain that September 11 is "just a day, like any other ordinary day; it has had good things and bad things happen", but it doesn't have to be remembered as a day of terror and destruction for the rest of my twins lives.  In fact, just now, I asked my nine year old if he knows what September 11th, or "9-11" means to him.  He said, "I don't know", Mom.  Well, in a way, I think this is great.  I am glad we have spared him the insane media circus that was put on with this day for the last ten years, and that somehow, continues to end up on the front page of our news every year.  How about some of these great things that have happened on September 11 in the past?  I'd like to share these with my kids instead, and let them decide what September 11 means to them.

#1:  September 11, 1999
Doug's Wedding
Pondering this on Twitter this morning, @DougP1 noted that his wedding occurred on September 11, 12 years ago, and his son thinks of this as a wonderful day. Wish him a Happy Anniversary tomorrow.

#2:  September 11, 1998
Opening ceremony for the 1998 Commonwealth Games
Malaysia is the first Asian country to host the games.

#3:  September 11, 1997
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars.
Info learned from the nine year mission.

#4:  September 11, 1985
Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb's baseball record for most career hits with his 4,192nd hit
View it on YouTube... Tickets were 50 CENTS!

#5:  September 11, 1972
Bay Area Rapid Transit, "BART", began operation in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Today, BART connects San Francisco with cities in the East Bay and suburbs in northern San Mateo County. Average weekday ridership of is 357,800 passengers making BART the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the United States.

#6:  September 11, 1961
The World Wildlife Fund opened it's first office in Morges, Switzerland.  Today, it is the world's largest independent conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting countless conservation and environmental projects.

#7:  September 11, 1922
The Sun News-Pictorial was established in Australia.  "The Sun" had the largest circulation for more than fifty years.

#8:  September 11, 1789
Alexander Hamiliton became the first US Secretary of the Treasury
President George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

#9:  September 11, 1786
This was the precursor to the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, or the "Constitutional Convention", the result of which was the United States Constitution.

#10:  September 11, 1609
Henry Hudson discovered the "Hudson River"

And... Some births of note on September 11:

1700 – James Thomson, Scottish poet (d. 1748)
1885 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist (d. 1930)
1943 – Mickey Hart, American drummer
1957 – Brad BirdPIXAR!!!  American director and animator
1962 – Kristy McNichol, American actress
1965 – Moby, American musician
1967 – Harry Connick, Jr., American singer

My resources for this post remain slim, and I confess to finding this all on Wikipedia... but I wanted to start somewhere.  I will see what else I can find on this topic, and add to this post at a later date.  Enjoy your September 11 this Sunday, 2011, and I hope you and your family do something memorable, in a good way, because I believe we really need to be accentuating the "good stuff" more often these days.

Sept 11, 2001 update:  @DougP1 on Twitter shared another link at with things that have happened on September 11 throughout history.  Read the new comments to this post for more on the emotional aspects of being reminded of a tragedy each year.


Kate Merriman said...

Colleen - I totally identify with you on this topic. Sometimes when I try to talk about what I think of as "having some perspective", people get furious with me and say I'm insensitive or unpatriotic. I'm so lucky that I spent the year following 9/11/01 in London, so I escaped the majority of the US media amplification of horror. Today I probably won't even be able to turn on the television - it seems almost a morbid fascination to keep re-traumatizing ourselves with the images over and over and over. Ughh

Colleen Proppé said...

I definitely believe the issue is the amplification of the imagery and horror, the sharing of "horror stories", and the proliferation of the violence online... "the hype" of it, year after year. Ten years is a long time, and it is one thing to have a quiet moment of silence, or for those who knew victims to go to church or do something privately, but why are we asked to relive this each year..."Where were you when this happened?" is repeatedly seen in online, in tweets, and was even in the Sunday Comics this morning (which my kids were happily reading, actually- they did not get the one about 9/11 at all). As someone who lost my best friend and husband ten years ago in a very tragic way, I do relate to loss. However, after ten years, I also do not want to be reminded of the loss. I grieve it silently inside of me every single day. I still think about that person almost every day, but to physically be reminded of him hurts very much. Even when a friend says something in jest, thinking it helps, it often does not. It sort of digs it in a little deeper. I believe that getting over a loss is very, very personal. It's so challenging when there is a annual reminder of this horror, even for me, and I did not lose someone I knew on 9/11. I hope this makes sense to readers. Another way to explain this is to read an article in the Marin IJ that came out yesterday by Beth Ashley, interviewing a man who lost his wife on 9/11. He is doing well now, with a new financé, and a new home, but he noted in the article that he wants to become more private now. I think ten years of being in the public eye and people wanting to interview him probably took its own toll on this man. Imagine how hard that would be, to have interviewers seeking you out and calling you up, year after year, to share your grief. Sometimes, we have to move on just to survive, and I really respect why we "bury" things.