I’m going to fly on September 11.
OK, so, in the overall scheme of things, it’s perhaps not that big a deal. I know that it’s been six years, that part of our not letting the terrorists win is to go on about our normal lives. I don’t even know anyone personally who died in the attacks, though I know people who do. At the time of the attacks, I wasn’t living in the parts of our nation targeted (although we relocated to the Northeast soon afterward). It’s not like I plan to spend some significant part of the day in prayer or contemplation—and it’s certainly not that I believe for one second that there will be a recurrence of those horrific events just because it’s the sixth anniversary.
I was, however, traveling by air on that fateful day, only to be grounded hundreds of miles away from friends and family (see “Never Forget“). I know that others were stranded farther away from their loved ones—and perhaps for longer. But it was a time when I wanted—more than I could possibly have imagined at the time—to be with my family. It was a time when people who love each other should have been able to comfort and reassure each other.
Somehow, the notion of once again being hundreds of miles away from my family on that day just seems wrong. Not as wrong as missing a birthday or graduation (I’m still batting 1.000 there)—but wrong, nonetheless. Whatever else we try to make of it, for this generation anyway, September 11 will always be “different.’
Like you, I’ll always have my memories of that day. I’ll never approach getting on an airplane the same way again, for one thing. I doubt that I’ll ever feel as “safe’ as I once did, but I also appreciate in a very special way, every day, the love of my family, the support of friends, the joy of being alive—and the responsibility to remember always that there are those whose reunion with their loved ones still lies ahead.
I may be traveling this September 11. But it is not—and should never become—“just another day.’