Today is my niece's actual fifth birthday (even though we celebrated last weekend). It is just a normal kind of day. I had to go "to town" for a minor periodontal surgery (which was SOOO not pleasant). It is something I've been needing to do for awhile, and it just happened to fall on this day. Thursday, September 11th. I'm home now, coping with a mouthful of soreness and a baby who is very sleepy and fighting her nap because she wouldn't nap at the sitter's house and is now overly tired.
Just a normal day with its normal kind of challenges.
And yet, my mind brings me back to a similar, normal kind of day not so long ago...one which changed our nation forever.
I don't usually get all reflective about things that happen to other people. But this is different. Even though I didn't know a single person who was directly affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I cannot forget how that day impacted our world forever. Our collective consciousness is forever changed by the events of that day and those that followed.
It's strange to think that all six of my parents' grandchildren were born in a post-9/11 world. Their history books will reflect the horrors of that day, but I wonder if they will ever really understand it. I wonder if they will understand the shock and confusion that Americans felt as they watched the towers fall over and over again on the nightly news. It will always be a part of the history of their country, but a part of me hopes that they can never fully understand the type of horror we all felt because maybe that will mean that they never have to witness such a thing in real time.
For me, it's a little surreal to think about. Like everyone else, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news, and what I felt on that perfectly clear and sunny September day. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had witnessed (if indirectly) pure evil...something that was completely beyond my comprehension. The news brought me to tears for weeks afterward, and I still find myself in tears when I think about the people who got caught in the middle of this nightmare...the hundreds of acts of bravery, strangers helping strangers, people standing in line for hours to give blood.
There are really no words to make sense of what I am feeling today. It's just a normal kind of day, but for those of us who remember that day, it will always be something more.