Eleven years ago tonight, the world was a different place. It was the old way that only people who lived in the 20th Century remember it being. Even then, many of us who are of two centuries can hardly remember how life was before it wasn’t anymore. Life changed the next morning.
My children will never know what life was like then, on every day and night up to September 10, 2001. They can’t know, can’t imagine how the world changed so much in just a few hours and then forever and ever.
Ironically, we had just started trying to have a baby the summer of 2001. We had to consciously decide if that was something we should keep trying to accomplish. We had to decide if we wanted to bring children into this new world. Until this very moment right now writing this, it never occurred to me that the infertility I experienced the months following September 11th might have had something to do with the mutual stress and depression of our entire nation, of the world who mourned for and with us.
Our son was weeks after our military rolled into Iraq. Our son was born on Saddam Hussein’s sixty-seventh birthday. There hasn’t been one day of our son’s life or his sister’s life when our nation hasn’t been at war. Ironically, our family has been at war with our son’s CHD for nearly as long as our nation has been at war. Perpetual war is exhausting and brings a longing for the peace that came before. That is the hunger for peace while entirely forgetting of the taste of it, long after one’s thirst for vengeance has been quenched. And it is all so very hollow. We are all still so sad, but not the children. They don’t know what they’re missing.
To my children, tomorrow is just another day, like the antiquity of Armistice Day nearly 100 years after it happened when hardly a soul lives that remembers it. The waves settled in Pearl Harbor and stillness sits on the grassy knoll and the book depository. I feared the USSR only long enough to watch it crumble while I was in high school.
Those huge events left brutal depressions, like comets pelting our earth. Then, the holes became the landscape that future generations take as fact without knowing pain of impact. Yet, blessed by perspective and the absence of ache, they will know the consequences far better than we ever will.
My children are children of wartime. They are children of this age, children who know nothing of meeting your party at the gate, of taking your home-brewed coffee on the airplane, or of a skyline that fell like so many stars into the rivers of history, even as we live on in the wake of it.