In the past five years, I have changed careers twice, moved from California to Minnesota, gotten married and fathered a child. If you ask others, you’ll probably hear very different tales of how life has changed since September 11, 2001. And for many, mine pale in comparison.
We all have a “first” event, an event that burned so brightly in our minds that we know exactly where we were and what we were doing when it happened. 9/11 was my “first” event. I would like to think that my life was built around the events that occurred to me, not around me. I was almost 2,500 miles from New York. But I will never avoid the affects of that day, whether I am traveling across the country or sitting in my own living room.
On or about every September 11, I think back to what I was doing. Living on the west coast at the time, I was going to work at an unreasonably early hour. I wasn’t having trouble sleeping and I didn’t have any feelings of dread. I was simply trying to catch up on work. I heard it on the radio first. Then I spent the next 10 hours glued to a TV. I did not go home.
On or about every September 11, I think about Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I think about the Pentagon, and I think about New York, and how I could not have been farther away from ground zero. At the same time, I was drawn in as close to these places as anyone can get without actually being there.
I do this on or about every September 11, not just on the five-year anniversary. All I need to do is take a look at the world around me every day, or the news every night, and I remember 9/11. I wonder why it took five years to talk about these events in such detail. I wonder why the media felt the urge to flood the airwaves now instead of the past four 9/11s. I wonder if we’ll all tuck these events back into the trunk until the ten-year anniversary, then pull them back out and relive them while telling ourselves to never forget. It is sad that we should commemorate such an event simply because of a traditional anniversary increment.
This event reshaped the lives of countless people forever, changing the outcome of every single day for so many. For those directly affected by the morning of September 11, 2001, they have lived daily through 1,825 anniversaries, not just five.I do not have a poem, and I do not have anything profound to say that hasn’t been said thousands of times by people way smarter than me. But I do not want to see our world wait another five years.
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