There are 19 years separating us from those horrible events. There are voters now who were no t even alive when those planes came down: into the Twin Towers in New York; into the Pentagon; into a field in Pennsylvania.
I do not need to reiterate the stunned, shocked, non-understanding of how this could have happened. Over the next days and weeks, as the toll of the dead mounted and names were attached to those lost, pieces of the puzzle were put together.
But it didn’t change anything for those lost, for the families and friends who were forever changed. It did change everything for all of us. How we viewed each other, how we traveled, how suspicion of anyone from the Mid-East skyrocketed. This change, unfortunately has become permanent. Imbedded so deeply that it is hard to remember how things use to be.
I had colleagues killed at the Pentagon. Individuals with whom I had served just a few short months prior. Sitting at meetings, sharing a coffee. It is now hard to pull faces out of my memory, harder still to think of all the changes that have cascaded through their families in the intervening years.
All I can say today is please, hug those close to you. Make a few phone/skype/zoom/internet calls. Tell them that they are loved, appreciated, though of no matter where they are or their current job.
Sometimes, you just don’t get a chance to say goodbye.