Remember that line in When Harry Met Sally when Harry is comparing bad dates with his friend, Jess, and he is recalling going on a date with a woman who, when he said "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" she replied with "Ted Kennedy was shot?"? That's how I feel about today. I know that I will be talking to someone in the future who was born in 2002 or after. And they will have no understanding of the true impact of 9/11/2001. My own children will not really get it, even though I scrapbooked the entire thing because I couldn't bring myself to do anything else for almost a week. And they will not say to me, "Mommy, where were you on 9/11?" because I had never thought to ask my own mother where she was when Kennedy was shot until just recently. My children will probably not understand for a long time that if 9/11 had not happened, I would probably not have returned from living in Arizona and I would have never met their father. Everything is intertwined. Everything.
So, as I look out on the this beautiful blue September sky, much as it was in NYC 8 years ago, much as it was when I got out of bed in Flagstaff, Arizona 8 years ago, I remember that sometimes things happen that really do profoundly change our lives and events can become so buried in our bones that a smell, a picture, a blue sky can take us back to that very day in just one instant. When I look at the pictures of the towers tumbling, of smoke pouring from the Pentagon and the cratered wreckage in Pennsylvania, I feel tired and heartbroken and completely isolated because that is what I felt that day. 2000 miles from home and working in a bar to make ends meet - I sat at the bar that night and drank tequila shots and watched CNN until the image of a sky raining people was burned into my retinas. Then I went home and thought "we will never be the same."
I wait in eager anticipation of a 9/11 memorial that will truly reflect the horrors of that day. But with everything, it is slow to come. A friend said to me last night, "you cannot fight emotion with logic" and isn't that the truth?? Emotionally charged family members of 9/11 victims fight with architects and engineers, masters of logic, and very little has changed. But someday....
During a week of partisan outbursts, complaints, finger-pointing and uncivil behavior, suddenly today we all feel like one again. And that feels really, really good.