Our seventh and final piece in our series commemorating the ninth anniversary of 9/11 comes from Jenene Ravesloot. In her piece, “As Usual” Jenene discusses the change of atmosphere, or lack thereof, in post-9/11 America.

wtcoutline by fekaylius via Flickr CC

Jenene Ravesloot

The stores are
busy enough.
The street is
still crowded.

Beggars still
stand in front
of garden cafes,

stretch out

Patrons still
pretend not to
notice them,

continue to drink
coffee, read papers,
worry about unemployment,
argue politics, wonder

when the war will
begin, when it will

It is autumn. Yellow
locust leaves are
falling. An amber scent
of rot fills the air.

Conversation Starter: In this piece, Jenene asks the question, What’s changed, really? In our post-9/11 world, have the everyday lives of the average American really altered? Do her words, written ten years ago, resonate today?

Writing Prompt: Walk down a busy street, sit in a café, look out your window. Write down your observations. Now, think back ten years to just before September 11, 2001. What did that same space look like back then? Has anything drastically changed? What does that change mean and what caused it? If nothing has changed, what could that mean about our post-9/11 society?


Over the course of the week we’ve looked at seven different pieces expressing seven different points of view, reflected on the events of 9/11, and discussed what’s changed (and hasn’t changed) in the last ten years. As we wrap up this week of remembrance, we would like to invite you to continue the conversation, whether that be on the blog or in person. Although some of the topics mentioned, such as race, identity, loss,  and war can be complicated and even uncomfortable, it is important that we keep the dialogue going, not only as we recall national disasters, but in our everyday lives.

  • http:/companyfolk.squarespace.com/ Susan Eleuterio

    Love the “amber scent of rot”- expresses both autumn and the sense many of us have right now of rot in our country- caused I think in many ways by the terrible costs in both money and lives of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The legacy of 9-11 could have been (and could still be) Americans “growing up” – taking responsibility for our excesses, building on the joyous love for each other which was expressed on 9/12. Instead, the jingoism (I will never forget the chants of “USA USA” at the memorial service in the Daley Plaza that week just after the crowd sang the national anthem-as if we were at a sporting event instead of a memorial for the dead) which led President Bush and his enablers to begin a war against people with no connection to 9-11 has continued.