I didn’t get it.
The way my grandmother spoke of Pearl Harbor Day, or my dad about JFK being assassinated. That was history. And it was sad history, and important history, but it didn’t have a profound, moving impact on me like it did on them. (I actually think it kind of annoyed my grandmother that kids didn’t understand what a big deal Pearl Harbor Day was.) I didn’t get it. How lucky I was, and I didn’t realize it.
For a while, it seemed as though the “where were you when _____?” moment for my generation was going to be the Challenger explosion. Not quite the same thing. Sad and scary and impactful on the space program, but it was an accident, not an attack on democracy.
And then everything changed.
September 11, 2001.
I get it now.
How you can remember with such clarity and detail exactly where you were, what you were doing, what happened next, even someone like me who is memory-challenged. How eleven years later you can see pictures of a beautiful blue sky, filled with confusing images of towering, smoking buildings, and start to cry. How we feel compelled to share our stories of watching it unfold. I get it now.
We grieve, each of us in our own ways, but we remember together.
And we dream of a day when there once again is a generation who doesn’t get it, doesn’t know what it’s like to have a life-altering moment when THE WORLD is turned upside down – not your own personal world, but the entire world. And we never forget.