For the past two years, I have gone out to the sidewalk in front of my place, and stood with a candle. I do not know if I will do it this year.
If I do, for whom do I light the candle? Not for the dead, I think. They are gone. The candle will not bring them back.
Do I light a candle for the living, then? Yes.
What are the reasons? What does the candle symbolize for me?
Recognition and sympathy for the bereaved families, for those who are now two years without the father, mother, sister, brother, relative they lost. That's the small scale.
On the larger scale, I light the candle in mourning. Not for the dead. For the living . . . but not just for those who lost families.
No, the candle is for our losses, on a larger scale.
I light a candle to mourn the freedoms that have been lost, that we have voluntarily let go for the illusion of safety. I light a candle for the living who suffer oppression in its many forms, and with the fervent hope for change.
I light a candle in memory of America and of the world, before 9/11/2001. People are already forgetting what it was like, and it troubles me. Fast and soon, one generation hence, people will not remember a time when they were able to go to the airport gate to see a loved one off, peering through the window at the plane flying away, bearing them off to a distant destination.
I don't mean to sound pretentious . . . I'm sure I do. I'm just feeling a little pensive about this.
I play a game called Dark Age of Camelot. On my server, folks are talking about doing an observance of the day out in the frontier zone. I suppose people can do what they wish, but it just seems inappropriate to me. I mean, it's a roleplay server: it's meant to represent a fantasy view of the Dark Ages. It's a place that people go to escape from the real world for a little while. Symbolically, they're trying to make a gesture for peace in a zone designated for combat in the game, for realm vs. realm warfare. I get the idea. But it's a mock thing . . it's play. It's like kids spraying each other with water, and the one who avoids getting wet, wins. It just seems against the server concept to go yanking the real world into it. Wouldn't it be more meaningful to make a gesture in the real world, where the event actually took place, rather than the virtual world? It's kind of one of those things of yeah, you can, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. I won't interfere with them, I won't be online at that time, but they are prohibiting other people for using the zone the way it was meant to be used during that time frame, claiming this moral superiority, threatening to blacklist guilds, etc. It's . . . well, it's cheesy, in my opinion.
My previous 9/11 posts:
I do not make a gesture to display for others, not exactly. I do not do it "for credit," as it were. I do it to remind, and to remember what should not be forgotten.