How will we remember September 11th as time goes on?
There was a time when you could ask "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" and get a passionate, detailed response, in some cases right down to what the person was wearing that day or what was on their lunch plate.
Now, chances are you're met with dead eyes and a "I wasn't even born."
November 22nd is one of those indelible days in U.S.. history, like December 7th. Otherwise ordinary dates that are forever linked with epic tragedy that changed the course of human events.
So it is with September 11th. It was 11 years ago today that terrorists struck and thus, reshaped history. Each ensuing anniversary brought back the tough memories. There was a time when we thought no one would ever get married on future September 11th's. that no parties would ever be deliberately scheduled on that date in the future. September 11th, we thought, would remain forever sacred. Remember how hard it was to merely smile or laugh in the days and weeks following the attacks, for fear that one would be considered insensitive?
Time moved on, though, and people kept on living. Anniversaries came and went, and last year's memorials were especially poignant as they came ten years after.
Now comes the question: how do we remember as the years pass?
USA Today poses it this morning, with survey results showing that, while we certainly haven't forgotten, we are changing and, in some ways, cutting back on just how much time we spend remembering. The New York Times, as of six a.m., had but one story that I could find on it's website, and it's about how some folks are scaling back and making their remembrances more personal.
Is it wrong to move on, to live this Tuesday as if it were just another day of a late-summer work week? To each their own, I say. Some may immerse themselves in coverage of the memorials, or watch one more time the horrible footage of falling towers, a burning Pentagon or a smoldering crater in the Pennsylvania countryside. Others may not even remember the significance of the day until they tap the date into a keyboard for the first time this morning.
Everyone has their own memory from this date 11 years ago. We know where we were. We remember the pain. How you care to mark it is your own individual and deeply personal business. To me, that's how grieving should be: on your level, without judgment.
As a collective nation, though, we may never, ever forget.