10 years ago

10 years ago, Tuesday, September 11 started as a regular day at work.  I was in a hurry — I was headed out on my first business trip that afternoon.  A year later, I wrote about my experience, and reading it takes me right back to those moments:  http://blog.danandem.com/2002/09/10/i-was-supposed-to-fly-that-day/ .

I’m surprised at how tender the wound still is.  I’m shocked at how hard it hits me if I let myself think about it.  The loss of life, the shock, the fear — the profound damage done to our sense of security and safety.  But mostly, the loss.

I still get chills and cry whenever I think about it.  I remember the people jumping from the World Trade Center buildings.  I remember the recordings of the phone calls from the people who knew they weren’t going to make it, preserved on answering machines and in voice mails for friends, spouses, parents, children that couldn’t be reached.  I remember the effort it took, in the beginning, to do normal things and not be afraid.  Thinking about it affects me differently, now, because I’m a mom — everyone who was lost was someone’s child.

My kids have never known a world where “September 11” hadn’t happened.  It will forever be a part of their landscape, of their nation’s and their family’s history.  But so, too, is the bravery and dedication of those who responded, that day and in the years that followed.

Today, being outside of the US is particularly strange.  What happened on September 11, 2001 is part of the American cultural experience — but not here.  The world shares our grief, on this anniversary, but they weren’t there, and they can’t really understand.  I feel safer being here, but also so distant.  America is my home.  It’s where I would prefer to be today.

Ten years on, life continues.  Babies are born, grow up, and enter the world.  The world that they enter has not forgotten what passed on that Tuesday morning, ten years ago.  We are wiser and more wary.  But we are also humbled by the brotherhood and selflessness possible in humanity.  We know better than to take our precious moments together for granted.

Those who attacked us ten years ago sought to terrify and cripple us.  The wounds they inflicted will never leave us.  But we are more than they thought we were.  We will never forget, but we will move forward.

And one day, maybe I won’t cry when I think about it.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.

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