Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I've been finding it difficult to handle all the 9/11 tributes and memorials on the television and radio the past several days, and don't know how I'll make it through today without succumbing to participating in some ritual.

The only 9/11 TV show I watched all the way through was on PBS this past weekend. It was about the undocumented workers ("illegal" aliens) who worked and died in the World Trade Center. Nobody's sure how many there were, since many of their families and friends are afraid to ask about them, lest they be deported.

The show (which was in Spanish, with English subtitles) focussed on four women from Mexico who each lost their husbands. At the beginning, one of the women, in her remote, poverty-stricken village, tried to imagine what happened in New York. Surrounded by one and two room adobe huts, she says that her husband worked in a "big house - maybe four of five stories tall."

A few of the women then traveled to New York in search of their husbands, or, failing that, at least some answers. Coming from such rural remoteness, it was difficult for them to fathom that people could be turned to dust, leaving no trace, in just a moment.

Lacking documentation, they couldn't prove their husbands even existed, let alone had jobs and died in the attack, and therefore couldn't apply for the survivor's benefits that were available. One woman stayed on in New York with her children, to start a new life. The others returned to Mexico to tell their families that their search was in vain.

I just re-read my entries here from last September 11, and my recollections of that day, posted on September 12. I think I'm avoiding the pain right now, because it's just so hard to go through it all again.

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