Reflections on yesterday

There’s a double entendre there that I didn’t intend when I first wrote that title, but upon reflection it seems appropriate.

Today is Sept. 12, 2006; yesterday was the fifth anniversary of 9/11. I wanted to take a moment and think about what I felt yesterday, but the same thing is true about the yesterdays before yesterday.

The weird truth is, for me, I don’t feel that things are that different.

I can clearly remember, years ago now, reading Patriot Games by Tom Clancy. It was in that book that I ran into the realization that the US has not been immune from terrorist attacks, we’ve just been really well-guarded and/or really lucky. (Strange how fiction can affect us.) I’m not even sure that the book said that, I just remember coming to that conclusion, especially after reading it several times. So when it finally happened and we lost our strange immunity, it was shocking, but not really world-changing to me.

When people say that “the world changed” on that day, I get rather irritated. The world didn’t change — our perception of it changed. We had this strange belief in our invulnerability; we no longer believe that blindly. And we shouldn’t, because that belief was never completely real.

So yesterday, I thought for a moment about the sadness of that day, but I attended no memorial service, nor did I feel any desire to even try. Maybe one day I will want to do so, but not yet. And that movie that is about to come out about the plane that fought back — I refuse to watch it. It’s too soon.

For me, the most vivid memory of 9/11 is actually 9/12. It was surreal. I went back to work in downtown DC, sat outside during lunch, and was surrounded by incredibly beautiful weather and an amazing amount of silence. Downtown DC is never silent, with all the traffic that is constantly on these streets. But that day there were very few if any cars on the road. It was silent and beautiful and that very unreal day drove home that something terrible had happened. Not world-changing, just terrible.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21


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