I had almost forgotten that today was September 11.
For the past 11 years, for some reason, I've been deeply interested in the events of that day. I cannot explain why. Maybe because it seemed the first defining moment of my life. People of generations before mine talk about the moment when they learned JFK was shot or when the Challenger shuttle exploded. My generation remembers the moment they learned the towers had fallen.
I remember that day almost as vividly eleven years later as I do last Tuesday. I remember that I was wearing--ironically, unknowingly--a shirt with an American flag on it. I remember hearing about the attacks after school. I was in the fourth grade. I had never even heard of the Twin Towers before, and I remember feeling guilty because of that.
I remember sitting on the floor in the family room, pouring over the newspaper, trying to understand. I didn't understand then. And I remember the aftermath, too. I had horrible nightmares for weeks.
I think that's why that day--and everything leading up to and following it--have captured me. It was an attempt to understand, to process.
But I woke up this morning as if it was any other Tuesday (it's not). It wasn't until a few hours into my day that I was reminded that, yes, today was not just another September day. My first reminder was this affecting blog entry. And then, passing by the small (but too large) square of miniature American flags on a patch of campus grass.
Now there are these photos-in-photos from Dear Photograph (you should see them for yourself).
They more eloquently capture what I am trying to. That we didn't understand anything then, that we still don't understand everything now, that there will always be something missing.