Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Nina Leven"

If there are novels you should be coincidentally reading when the anniversary of 9/11/2001 falls, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is surely among them.  It's a mirror held up to reflect our--ordinary citizens'--varying gratitude, mourning, horror, reverence, anger, determination, confusion, naïveté, patriotism, nationalism, globalism, fear, pride, bemusement, admiration, cluelessness, authenticity...the panoply/amalgam/juxtaposition/contradictions and oxymoronic American-ness of us in the wake of tragedy and in honoring our servicepeople.

What is the right thing to feel and say and do when faced with what we struggle to understand? We are united in wondering, and in not wondering and therefore freely feeling and doing and saying. How very American of us just to express ourselves, beautifully and offensively and gracefully and clumsily because we can.

Thank goodness (and our founders) for that, and for authors like Ben Fountain, who offer few apologies and more truth about who we, and our soldiers, are.

"You can't see some of the things we've seen and not think about the big questions.  Life, death, what it all might mean."

We are still learning.

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