I have to admit that now, 7 years on, I honestly forgot that today was September 11. I didn’t forget the significance of the date, of course, I was just less aware of its approach than I remember being in past years. I don’t know and won’t pretend to evaluate whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I just know that when I realized it I felt just a little bit detached.
I wasn’t alive when Kennedy was assassinated, but I imagine that this is that same kind of defining moment in a lifetime. I still remember where I was. And what I did.
I was consulting out of my house at the time and, shortly after 8am, my girlfriend at the time called to tell me something was going on in NYC and to turn on CNN. She was at work and didn’t have the details. I turned on CNN a few minutes later and I don’t think I turned it off for the next week. Maybe longer.
I was also just a few years removed from active duty in the Army and still a member of the inactive reserves. I was simultaneously expecting a call to mobilize and considering re-enlisting for active duty. I wanted to go to NYC to help, but knew I’d be no help. DC was (and is) closer, but the situation in New York was far more dire. I also wanted to get on every plane I could get on just as a matter of principle. The only emotions I really remember were horror, anger and defiance.
Over time, the emotion and numbness have faded, but the memory has not.