September the Septemberth
Were I could be granted one wish, I would change today’s date to the little endian system. Sure, it’s going to take some getting used to — sandwiched in between Sept. 10th and Sept. 12th will be Nov. 9 — but we could adjust. The other option is to simply eliminate the day from the calendar completely. The first week of September would begin as usual, but the second week would begin on the eighth, and end on the fifteenth, and not the fourteenth. Either way, it’s going to be a bit awkward at first, but eventually we’ll move on.
On the tenth anniversary, we’re stuck with the decision I don’t think anyone can reasonably make: Do we move on, or do we spend the day remembering, stuck in a trance? Ten years ago, we promised never to forget, and we’ve certainly taken it to heart. And perhaps we have taken it too much to heart. The acts, and the day itself, have become the politician’s most visceral tool. It gets pounded into our head non-stop. In some sense, the politics of fear have become the norm, and we’ve become jaded in response.
But still, how can we forget? This isn’t a question that demands a moral judgement; this is a question about whether or not it’s physically possible. On 364 days of the year, it’s very easy to put that day’s events into a compartment — something that doesn’t immediately and viscerally conjure an image as much as it does on the single day. On a calendar, I can see it sitting there. But it’s another thing to be in that day, to actually write down those three numbers and realize that the day that we have feared, the day that we have been told to never forget, is actually upon us. After all, those are three numbers that we use all the time. We still use that number to declare an emergency, and don’t think much of it when it’s written down. But to live in the world of those three numbers, and to let the significance sink in — every time, it sinks into the system. It’s happened eight times already, and I’m sure that on the ninth time, It’s going to sink in again.
Let’s think about, for the first time in human history, retiring a day from the calendar, as a sports team would retire a jersey of a departed player. How about that idea?