Sep 13, 201012:00 AM
The Editor's Room
Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
For Every 9/11, There Is a 9/13
In the early morning of the day that my dad died, I wondered, as I drove to my mom's house, what the date was. "Sept. 11" was the reply. "I will always remember that date," I thought to myself.
That was in 1995. Six years later that date would become one that no one would forget. It took a while for that date to solidify as the all-embracing term for what to call the tragedy. It did not work just to refer to the incident as “the New York twin towers disaster,” for there were the crash into the Pentagon and the heroic yet disastrous outcome in a Pennsylvania field. Eventually the date, with its uncanny matching to the universal emergency phone number, took hold.
We in the Gulf South would face another 9/11 nearly four years later, on Aug. 29, 2005. This time it would not take a date but a simple female name –– once innocent but now, like Judas and Adolph, stained by history –– to identify the tragedy.
For every 9/11 in our lives, there are the 9/13s. They are, after the initial pain, dark moments to begin doing what must be done. My father's funeral was on that date. New York and New Orleans were grasping the challenges of burial and recovery by the second day following their disasters.
We should always honor the memorable dates, but when it comes to fully living our lives, we should cherish the dates that are forgettable.
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