Eleven years after September 11 it is hard to find something meaningful to say in a short space, though I am approaching a moment where I feel like writing about it in some detail because I feel like the distance has become sufficient.

Every year I have asked my students if they had any thoughts on the anniversary of 9-11, and I must say that since that date that nothing has been said that I thought was worth mentioning.  Very little thoughtful at all. A usual diversion was into storytelling.  I do think a particular strain of self-storytelling is one of the legacies of that moment.

This year my students had something interesting to say. In particular, there was a robust disagreement in one class between those you appreciated the church-y memorial service the school created and several others who found it abominable.  This group preferred only one thing: silence.

I was fortunate today to realize to talk to the daughter of an old and now deceased friend and colleague of mine, Tom Fanney.  Tom was a mathematician, a surfer, and an extremely friendly and welcoming person.  He died seven years ago, a truly tragic loss that those trite words do not adequately convey.  I don't think it was an accident to think of him on this particular day, just fortuitous timing.  I think often of a conversation we had on September 11, 2002, at a session organized at the school to grapple with the one year anniversary of it.  Tom's response at that time, a fraught and terrible time, to say the least, was so peaceful that it since served as a model for me as well as something of a touchstone.  You are missed, Tom.


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