Today is the 11th of September 2012; the numerical representation ("9-11") will immediately resonate with most of us in the USA as well as the Western world, and likely a large chunk of the rest as well. Of course, it's the anniversary of a terrible day eleven years ago when several groups of men, using vessels of commerce , leisure, and transport, destroyed the World Trade Centre in Manhattan, a section of the Pentagon in Washington, several thousand lives.
It's become something of a grim tradition on this date - people posting "where I was" remembrances of that particular date when they heard/saw the news. I was living in San Jose, California; my day had just begun with the familiar voice of the bumper announcer on KNBR, broadcasting the top of the seven o'clock hour news teaser - "If you've ever been to New York and seen the World Trade Centre, it's gone...." Unlike many here on the east coast, my day did not begin just like any other.
Maybe it's the distance that an entire continent made; perhaps it's that at that time, I had only seen the Twin Towers out the window of a plane landing at Kennedy Airport. But as I read the comments of those who are now my neighbours here in New Jersey, just an hours' drive from NYC, I find it odd the feeling "it seems like only yesterday."
To me, it seems like a lifetime ago.
The distance between then and now is temporal and metaphorical. EVERYTHING about my life is different. I suspect the same is true for a lot of people.
Honestly; think about the way you felt when you went to sleep on the night of the 10th of September 2001.
The country felt more prosperous. There was no lost decade economically. No stock market crash (two, in fact, if you count the Tech Bubble). The fear of shadowy bad guys waiting to hit at us was constrained to Hollywood movies. There was no Iranian bomb. We wished for a continuation of the good times - "hope" was not tied to "change."
Worst of all, no decade of seemingly endless, hopeless wars.
Personally, there is practically nothing about my life that is the same today as it was then. In the time, I've gotten married, changed jobs (three times). My son was born, grew, and entered school. I now live thousands of miles away.
It doesn't seem like only yesterday to me, and in a sense, I am glad for that. I haven't forgotten - nobody should forget of course. But as I see it, the best way we can celebrate and remember those who were killed that day is for us to live.