From My Bookshelf to Yours: Remember 9/11 and unite to fight COVID - Albuquerque Journal

From My Bookshelf to Yours: Remember 9/11 and unite to fight COVID

Maureen Cooke

A timely yet ultimately distressing anthology “New Mexico Remembers 9/11,” edited by Patricia Walkow, is a collection of essays, poems and artwork by New Mexicans, dealing with the events and aftermath of 9/11 — a tragedy that, however briefly, united and galvanized the United States against a common enemy: terrorism.

Those old enough to remember 9/11 are unlikely to ever forget where they were that day and how they felt as they watched the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center and then the second plane hit the South Tower. Few will forget the heroism of those aboard United Flight 93 or the eeriness of a sky devoid of the sound and sight of aircraft.

“New Mexico Remembers 9/11” brings those details back to life.

The contributors vary in age, gender, socioeconomic background and ethnicity — which provide a fairly thorough understanding of how Americans responded to 9/11.

Several pieces, including “A Mother’s Heart” and “Even the Children Watched,” address the challenge and anguish of parents trying to keep children emotionally and physically safe. Other pieces, such as “At Least I Could Do Something About It,” detail the need to take action, to stand up, be prepared to fight if need be.

There are over 20 contributors to the anthology, and I am reluctant to elevate one over the other, as each piece is worth reading. Each memory is worth preserving.

That said, I want to mention two authors, one because of the beauty of her prose and the other because of his courageous honesty.

Before reviewing “New Mexico Remembers 9/11,” I had never heard of Sylvia Ramos Cruz. After reading her prose/poem/essay “Where To?” I will definitely seek out her work.

“Where To?” is a lyrical blend of Spanish, English, news reports, prose and poetry. A retired surgeon, Cruz’s use of language and essay form — combining quotes from Osama bin Laden, President George W. Bush and Malala with poetry — made “Where To?” a joy to read.

On a different note, Colin Patrick Ennen’s “A Guilty Memory” was difficult to read, not because of grammatical or stylistic errors, but because of Ennen’s brutal honesty. He details being in The Corps of Cadets, a military academy yet part of Texas A&M University.

He describes other students’ reactions, and his inability to understand why anyone would stay glued to the television, watching the news of the attacks, or why classes would be suspended.

He describes being genuinely puzzled that these actions could in any way help those who’d been killed. Ennen doesn’t justify or apologize for his reaction; he simply details it.

Not until the end of the essay does the reader understand Ennen’s reaction. “A Guilty Memory” needs to be read to be fully appreciated.

“New Mexico Remembers 9/11” is timely in that the U.S. in March 2020 was attacked by a relentless enemy: COVID-19, which has so far killed more than 250,000 Americans and shows no sign of letting up. Yet, unlike after 9/11, Americans have not united to fight a common enemy; that is beyond distressing.

(Maureen Cooke has been writing, editing and teaching others to write for the past 30 years. Currently, she’s working on a mystery novel and a memoir. She’s a member of the Corrales Writers’ Group.)

Home » Rio Rancho Observer » From My Bookshelf to Yours: Remember 9/11 and unite to fight COVID


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
End of the line: Why some New Mexicans may ...
ABQnews Seeker
NM Medicaid enrollees warned: Yearly requalifications ... NM Medicaid enrollees warned: Yearly requalifications on horizon again
2
University of New Mexico's plan for massive development project ...
ABQnews Seeker
Plan to use tax money for ... Plan to use tax money for site's development under scrutiny
3
A man lost his leg after being run over ...
ABQnews Seeker
Lawsuit claims forklift operator, store did ... Lawsuit claims forklift operator, store did not take proper precautions
4
Albuquerque Police Department: Man hospitalized after stabbing
ABQnews Seeker
Victim in stable condition after multiple ... Victim in stable condition after multiple stab wounds, police say
5
How NMSU researchers are getting to the root of ...
ABQnews Seeker
'We are going to build a ... 'We are going to build a picture of what makes these plants tick,' says Richard Heerema, NMSU pecan specialist
6
The annual Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival Holiday ...
ABQnews Seeker
In its 22nd year, the holiday ... In its 22nd year, the holiday show featured the work of 165 artists
7
NM National Guard delivers donated freezers to families affected ...
ABQnews Seeker
Freezers were given to San Miguel ... Freezers were given to San Miguel and Mora county residents after damage caused by fire or related power outages
8
Udeze's monster game, defense late lead Lobos to blowout ...
ABQnews Seeker
Morris Udeze had 33 points and ... Morris Udeze had 33 points and 14 rebounds, earning the Lobo Classic MVP award, and led UNM to a blowout win over Northern Colorado.
9
A tiny NM-TX border town is raking in recreational ...
ABQnews Seeker
Customers begin lining up on a ... Customers begin lining up on a hot Friday afternoon in mid-October at Ultra Health in Sunland Park. Just a three-minute drive away, others are ...
10
Robert Mirabal uses music to deliver a message of ...
ABQnews Seeker
Grammy Award-winner Robert Mirabal is reinstating ... Grammy Award-winner Robert Mirabal is reinstating his annual show in December, which he did for 28 years prior to the pandemic causing a three-year ...