Thursday, September 11, 2014

Half My Life

Most days aren't that different from the day before--any changes are gradual--but today felt different. Definitely cooler. Grayer. A distinct shift from what yesterday and the past few months have offered. A good day for meditation and remembrance.

September 11, 2001 seems like a lifetime ago. For some people it is. For me, it's half a lifetime ago. I was in eighth grade at St. Mary's, but that morning I was at the high school for band class. We always turned the TV on when class was over and while we waited for our ride back to St. Mary's, so I wasn't really paying attention to what was happening. But then I was.

From now on, more of my existence will be post-9/11 than pre. And yet, I'm still surprised when a book I'm reading mentions September 11th, or when it in some way influences the plot. It seems so fresh still. I do the same thing every time--flip to the front pages to check the publication date. 2003. 2008. 2011. Last year. How long until September 11th feels like history instead of current events?

I know that's a loaded question, so I won't even attempt an answer. Instead, an excerpt from this letter written by Frank Culbertson, the only American not on Earth on September 11th:

"I know that we are on the threshold (or beyond) of a terrible shift in the history of the world. Many things will never be the same again after September 11, 2001. Not just for the thousands and thousands of people directly affected by these horrendous acts of terrorism, but probably for all of us....It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are."

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