For Scott Simon, and for Bill Craven
Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, and for those of us who lived through it, it can be dizzying to realize that there are now high school students who weren’t born when it happened.
It has been one of the two signal public events of my adulthood. The other was the inauguration day of President Obama. The minutes and hours of each of those days were suffused with a sense of historical moment: on one, I was a thirtyish new bride; on the other, I was a massively pregnant forty-year old, hoisting a celebratory thimble of champagne with neighbors while the television and heating blasted.
In both cases, just about everything turned out differently from what we expected.
Fifteen years later, my sense is that in the rest of the country that is not New York or Washington, September 11 is so distant that it is merely a touchstone of rhetoric from political discourse: “If we don’t X, the terrorists will win!”
But for those of us who lived there, the memory of the event courses on, like an underground river that can flood back up at any moment. [Read more…]