As it happens, the prior post that I wrote—“Who Will Remember?”—turned out to be my 300th blog entry. I chose not to mention it then, as it seemed out of place to be pointing to my writing, when the issue at hand was an issue of far greater import.
Reading through the comments, I was struck with the observation by my blogging buddy, Philip. He noted that few people remember 9/11—but not 2001, as most of us would instinctively think, but 1973. That is the date that Salvador Allende, President of Chile, died during a coup d’etat. It is now known that his death was suicide, but at the time it seemed that he died as a result of the hostile action. This infamous coup had U.S. government complicity fingerprints all over it.
This coincidence of events got me to thinking about time—actually, I have frequently had these thoughts, but have not until now written them down. I guess I didn’t take the time before.
It is one of the attributes of being human—this propensity to get all wrapped up with time. Surely one of the things that separates humans from other animals is our ability to recall the past, and anticipate the future. We may not be alone in these traits, but we have refined them more than any other animal on earth.
Remember when we approached the turning of the century—passing from 1999 to 2000? People got down-right crazy. There were millennial predictions of doom. Depending upon one’s religious slant, people thought time could end with the dawn of 2000. That always struck me as incredibly silly since the marking of 2000 years since the birth of Christ is not a precise fixed moment. In fact, theologians who try to pin down the exact year of the birth of Christ calculate that he was most likely born 3 or 4 years B.C. (I love that particular conundrum.)
Since there are only 365 days in a year, the chance of there being multiple events that have occurred on any specific date, but in different years, is myriad. One of the assignments I sometimes give to my English Composition students is to research something of world significance that happened on the day and month of their birthdays. I begin this assignment by telling them about the bombing of Dresden at the close of World War II. This exercise always gets their attention—students are suckers for any story. I go into great detail about the fire-bombing that resulted in such massive destruction and thousands of deaths. Then I say—why do you think I am telling you this story? Usually, I get blank looks. So, then I say—the event occurred on the day I was born. Now, your assignment is to find out something of world significance that occurred on the day you were born.
So, another 9/11 has come and gone. And we all remembered the events of 2001, having long forgotten the events of 1973, if we ever noted that date. It’s about time that we expanded our horizons, and note our dates of significance and also note the dates of significance elsewhere in the world.
Explanation of photos:
Sunrise, sunset, moonrise—all markers of time for us.