10 Year Anniversary of 9-11

Patriotic Cochlear Implant "Bling"

It is hard to believe we’ve seen the 10 Year Anniversary of “9-11” come and go already. It really put it into perspective for me when my 21-year-old daughter relayed an amusing anecdote to me. She had gone to Union Station to pick up “the boyfriend“. They walked around a bit before getting on the METRO and she spied a police car outside with “9-1-1” on the side. Because of the anniversary of 9-11, and a result of what I think those numbers MEAN to someone of her generation, she pointed at the car and said, “Oh look! I guess that is on there to commemorate the 10 year anniversary!”  I think “the boyfriend” was hard pressed not to laugh.

Hers is a generation that grew up without William Shatner and his “Rescue: 9-1-1” television show. Although 9-1-1 was covered in school, for her it left a permanent link to a different meaning other than how to call in the event of an emergency. For her, those 3 numbers meant something far different. She was old enough to understand that the world had changed for those here in the U.S.A., but young enough to experience different kinds of fear, anxiety, and apprehension experienced by parents and their peers.

On 9-11 I was “only” hard-of-hearing at the time. The progressive loss and downward spiral of my own hearing had not left its life-changing mark as yet. However, even with my first hearing aid, I still relied on closed captioning. I think if I had to put my finger on ONE memory of 9-11, it would be being afraid and confused about what was happening because those professionals who did closed captioning were FREAKING OUT. At times, the closed captioning was just gibberish, and there was a great deal more of instantaneous corrections being made for “Live” television. When the first tower came down I remember sitting – quicklySTUNNED.

Ten years later I am a different person. Hopefully, all of us can say we are “different” after a decade of life. Our goal should be to mature, learn, and even blossom. I am completely deaf now, but “hear again” through cochlear implant technology. Who I count as friends are peers who also live with hearing loss, live with invisible disability/illness, or work with those populations. Sometimes we live victoriously and sometimes there are setbacks. I have found a “community”, however, and they have become family and friends to me. I watched a number of specials about 9-11 and still used closed captioning. However, it was with some confidence that I also HEARD the commentary and watched the speeches at various memorials. I am grateful for my cochlear implant and for the privilege of living in America.

We will never forget…

Denise Portis

© 2011 Personal Hearing Loss Journal

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