At the risk of becoming too maudlin
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Eleven years ago, today, my greatest fear was that my son would be expelled from kindergarten.
By lunch, my fears were so much greater
I was driving to school, listening to a Denver country station like I always did. It was shortly before seven and the hosts were talking about something that looked like it might be a small private plane hitting the World Trade Center. While they were on the air watching live video from New York, the second plane hit.
We all know the end of that story.
The facilities department put up a TV in the break room so we could stop by during the day and check in. In the finance department, we kept checking websites, but they couldn't handle the traffic. CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC they were all overloaded. Finally, I suggested we try the local station 9news.com, and that came through - just in time for us to read the news that the towers were collapsing.
Everyone found a connection to the victims. My father was a fireman for over 20 years. I cried over the first responders who were running into the towers as everyone else ran out. Others were ex-military and talked about the Pentagon. Many have friends or family in the airline industry. At my company, people travel for work all the time. Many employees were stranded far from home. I was lucky, my husband was due to fly out that evening, so his trip was cancelled. It's all we could talk about for days. "Where were you" became the standard opening question for every conversation - until it came to the point where people didn't want to hear about it any more. The phrase "now more than ever" became the #1 fall-back for any political position.
I still look at pictures and my stomach tightens, my breath catches a little.
The world became a different place that day.
And yet - it didn't.
Here we are, living in America. Buying our new cars and having our petty political squabbles. We still get up every morning. We go to work. We pay taxes. Our kids go to school. We watch TV, maybe work on a project in the basement work room. People get married, and some get divorced. Sometimes our loved ones die before we had the chance to truly appreciate them. We still get on airplanes and go to visit friends, relatives and DisneyLand. Maybe we stand in a little bit longer line, and we wear slip-on shoes, now, but we get on those planes.
This isn't a new world.
It's not a new normal.
It's the same old normal, because we don't know any other way to be.