Sometimes it seems so long ago. Sometimes it seems like yesterday. It was 12 years to the day.
We all have our stories of the day the world shook.
I remember going into work at NBC10 and rushing into the newsroom where hardened news staffers were crying. After years of covering unspeakable tragedy, this one was too much to bear.
After three days and endless hours on the air, I started to question myself. Why wasn’t I crying? Why wasn’t I feeling what everyone else was feeling? It was when we started showing the pictures, so many pictures, of men and women from South Jersey, Bucks County, Delaware County, all over the area. That’s when it happened. My voice broke and my eyes welled as I read the names and told their stories.
It was 12 years ago at 8:46 AM when American Airlines flight 11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At 9:03 AM, United Airlines Flight 175 was flown into the south tower. At 9:37, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western façade of the Pentagon. At 10:07, United Airlines flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County after passengers stormed the cockpit and attacked the hijackers.
Today there will be ceremonies to remember September 11, 2001, but not enough. The exclamation point of solemn remembrance was the tenth anniversary; the ceremonies have dwindled since then.
It is difficult to imagine that this day, another day that was supposed to live in infamy, may soon become like Pearl Harbor Day, an afterthought in our minds and a second segment mention on the news.
They say the world changed on that day.
Several hundred families in the Philadelphia area will never be the same. They lost loved ones as America’s need for revenge sent millions of our young and brave to Iraq and Afghanistan. Earth was scorched, hundreds of thousands killed, millions were injured, buildings were destroyed and rebuilt again and the man responsible, Osama Bin Laden, was killed nine and a half years later in Pakistan.
And still we fight on.
Most stopped caring about the death toll long ago. It used to be a nightly feature on the news. Not anymore. Many don’t even realize we are still fighting in Afghanistan. Didn’t President Obama end that war? For the record, 22-year-old Staff Sergeant Todd Lobriaco of New Fairfield, Conn., was killed in action last week. The 2,271st fatality in America’s longest war.
The death of Todd Lobriaco was covered by the Danbury News-Times. At the bottom of the web page that featured the story, the newspaper thought readers might also like the story, “Is Brooklyn Decker the Most Attractive Swimsuit Model in the World?” America has moved on.
For most of us, it’s small things. The metal barriers at Independence Hall are a pain. I remembered when you could walk right in and the Liberty Bell was inside. You still have to wait in a long line and take off your shoes at the airport, unless you’re way too young or way too old. Ironically, the elderly apparently don’t make good suicide bombers. If you work in a high rise, chances are you have to swipe an ID card to get in.
When my two youngest children, who were born after Sept. 11, 2001, become adults, they won’t know any other way. What is a new and necessary inconvenience to us, won’t even be a thought. The reasons won’t be important anymore, it just will be the way it is.
The day won’t seem like a long time ago, or yesterday. It will be history. At first like Pearl Harbor and then even more distant and less important to the next generation and the generation after that.
There is a move in New York called Take A Day To Remember The Day that is supported by the 9/11 museum and many of the city’s movie stars. But the fact that it hasn’t caught on nationally just shows we aren’t one with New York anymore. America has moved on. The fact that only the relatives of the dead will lay wreaths and recite names at the 9/11 attack sites, unsoiled by the imposition of political photo ops, is more proof and a welcome change. There will always be ceremonies, but every year fewer and fewer will attend.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
If our children watch 9/11 slowly shrink in size and importance in life’s rear view mirror, and only have to deal with the wand scan as they enter Citizen’s Bank Park as a remnant of a forgotten threat, it only means that their lives are free of such sinister acts.
Give the next generation the gift of allowing a day, that sometimes feels like yesterday to us, to nestle into a history book like a fossil of a time when horrible things like that happened, but not anymore.
I want America to move on.