All of us can remember exactly where we were, when the plane crashed into the first tower on September 11, 2001. My husband and I were getting ready for work, when we saw those awful images that remain etched on the collective "American Mind" forever. The visceral reaction I remember feeling was disbelief, mingled with confusion about whether I was watching reality or some new motion picture special effect.
It's been eight years now since that horrible shift in consciousness. The world has changed dramatically as we have had to deal with airport security, heightened anxiety and elevated risks. The collective American Naivete is gone forever.
So it was with some trepidation that my boys and I flew last Friday, the 8th anniversary of 9/11, down to Burbank, California. We were the winning bid of an eBay auction item designed to raise awareness and funding for The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation. The on-line fundraiser is done in conjunction with the upcoming Emmy awards this Sunday, September 20th. Television Academy Foundation Employee Debbie Slavkin runs the on-line auction. The event is part of the Foundation's efforts to raise money for programs that "Inspire future generations and preserve television."
As much as my career history has involved television and the media in general, the reason we found ourselves on that plane is because of my three boys. They love the USA network television series, http://www.usanetwork.com/series/monk">Monk. The show stars Tony Shaloub as an obsessive-compulsive detective who was a "rising star" in the San Francisco Police Force, but who gets derailed when his wife is brutally murdered. After her death, "Monk" falls into the abyss of grief and acts out through his obsessive-compulsive disorder. This disorder leaves him unable to function on a minute-by-minute basis without some help. However, even in this fractured state, he is an incredibly talented detective.
A few years back, my oldest son, visiting his friend Aldin, came home addicted to the show. Since then the boys have used their allowance to purchase every single episode since the show's inception. (This is the 8th year) When the opportunity to donate to the Television Academy Foundation and deliver an unusual Christmas present for the boys, it was just too good to say no. On the plane my youngest talked about our plane "crashing" like on 9/11. I explained to him there were many regulations put in place, and more policemen hired to prevent more attacks in America. At least one hopes there will be no more attacks.
The Monk set and cast were amazing. Tony Shalhoub, and Jason Gray-Stanford made us feel particularly welcome, as did Traylor Howard and Ted Levine. The publicists created a magical experience that my sons will never forget.
Truthfully as Monk's fictional life was devastated by the death of his wife, Trudy. As Americans, our reality and collective consciousness was damaged by the terrorist attacks in 2001. After 8 years, I hope that we can all begin to replace those horrible memories. Osama wins the war on terror if we continue to allow him to dampen and dull our spirits and stamp out the hope. That refusal to extinguish hope, is why this trip was particularly poignant for us.
As we left that set that day, the memories of Osama Bin Laden and the havoc he created in this country were but a cumulo-nimbus cloud pushed back to the recesses of my mind. We will never forget those who lost loved ones and created wounds that changed the course of their lives. We can however, replace those awful moments with better ones that allow for hope to sprout through the cracks in the rubble and to soften a little bit of those images left back his evil distorted legacy. Monk did that for us last week. As we were leaving the set, I asked the boys if this early Christmas present was all that they thought it would be. The replied in unison, "Even more."
Take that Osama Bin Laden!