My whole life changed with 9/11. Partly because the worst elements of the US ran with it as carte-blanche for all kinds of evil. Partly because my beloved city was never the same. Partly because the sister of the man I loved had just started a job at WTC and her brutal death ended everything I thought I knew.
I still think about the last day I saw her. She had just turned 30 and found her first gray hair. With her usual wit she’d taped it on our bathroom mirror with a note penned in her gorgeous calligraphy: NOW I AM OLD.
The day I turned 50 I thought about that sign, about how she was so young when she died that she thought 30 was old, and I cried about her yet again. Because the world was better with her in it. She was optimistic and cocky and engaged and blisteringly sharp. The exact energy we lost as a city and a people when the towers fell.
I’m writing all this today because I can’t do social media on 9/11 itself. The grandstanding feels hypocritical and painful and deeply hollow. 9/11 was when America realized its soil wasn’t safe from the destruction it sowed around the world.* And no one likes to talk about that.
*Some already knew through bitter experience.