Five years ago I wrote this about our experiences on Sept. 11, 2001.
It's so hard to realize that those events occurred 10 years ago. Ten years ago we were still in the SFBay area, although we'd been looking at houses in Red Bluff a few times. We had just returned from moving Princess #3 from Chicago to Birmingham where she was going to live with Princess #1. Only a month earlier we had attended the Dahl cousins' reunion in Cambria where my mother's sisters and brothers, most of their children, and their children's children had come together for the first (and so far only) time, although there have been smaller gatherings a few times since.
Ten years ago I was barely into my 50s. We'd been married a little more than a year. My mother was still alive and so were her brothers: all now are dead and still missed daily.
Ten years ago the world changed forever, and not for the better. But Americans came together in ways they had not since World War II, and for a while we were united in our grief and shock and determination not to allow the unthinkable act of war to be forgotten.
Unlike my husband, I do not have any positive memories of that time: he writes today about an event at his company that forever touched him and helped his whole company get through such a difficult time.
What I remember is sitting in a meeting a few days later with a product director demanding that I come up with better, more enticing descriptions of monitor screens and wrist rests, and getting angry when I made only minor copy changes. When she complained to my manager, he reminded her that not all of us process such catastrophic events in the same way, and she responded, "She (meaning me) didn't know anybody who died. Why is she so upset?" And my manager looked at her for a moment, and then said, "Somebody has to grieve for them." He put off future meetings for another few weeks and helped minimize my contact with that person. She left the company not long after that.
The tragedies of Sept. 11 are all over the TV this weekend and I'll be glad when it's over, frankly. I don't want to remember it any more vividly than I already do. It's difficult to see anything positive that came from those deaths, although I'm sure that there are programs that take that spin.
But after the tumultuous, divisive political battles we've had in recent years, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have sent so many of our soliders home in body bags or with horrific scars mental and physical, it's hard to remember that for a little while just 10 years ago we were a united people, all Americans, all grieving for what we had lost that morning. We are still grieving for our country and all we lost, but we are not united any more about much of anything.