A Warning from the Dead to the Living

What does it mean to see but not to understand history? What does it mean to witness but not to fully write the history of an event, whose fullness is incompatible with our poverty of words and our surplus of grief? What does it mean to memorialize the dead but not to desecrate their memory, as we replace our cries with waterfalls of tears?

Such is man’s attempt to explain the evil that men do, rather than the alleged indifference of a God who watches but refuses to stop evildoers.

Blessed, therefore, is the wise man who searches his soul for answers without attacking God for not answering the ultimate question: why?

Why did 9/11 happen? 

Why did it happen, not as a matter of logistics but as a mission of such impenetrable illogic?

Or perhaps there was a warning before the hellfire of bone, ash, and debris. Perhaps the warning was not about the actions of the few but the failure to act to protect the many; neither a conspiracy nor a cabal, but a conscious decision born of complacency and a fatal conceit—that reason alone would pacify the world and calm even the most savage warriors of the religion of peace.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is the result of man’s holiday from history.

It is solemn.

It is a monument of rock and water, minus the slightest flicker of fire.

In the absence of a flame, as the day itself was an inferno of 2,983 individual fires, whose lights can never be replaced, whose warmth can never be restored, whose costs can never be recorded—beside the void are the names.

Let us remember to read the names.

Let us trace every letter and touch every entry until what is etched in stone is engraved in the hearts and minds of free men everywhere.

Photo credit: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

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