For some reason, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has been more important to me; more meaningful somehow. Not that others weren't, but I suppose I looked at all of those anniversaries as more of a "We made it! This far!" kind of anniversaries.
This one, the first one with Bin Ladin dead, just hits me as overwhelmingly sad.
Now that I'm a mom to three little guys, I have made many many trips to visit fire fighters and I am seeing the anniversary a bit differently.
I've realized that when I watched the second plane hit the other tower, that I watched not just people die, but mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
I had just gotten out of class super early because the teacher was sick, and I thought my luck couldn't get any better when I strolled through the brickyard to grab breakfast, and realized there was NO LINE for food. I obliviously got in the empty line and picked out food, not realizing until it came time to pay, that everyone, including the food staff, were clustered around the tvs.
I remember putting the food down and coming over to see that there had been a horrible accident, that a plane had just crashed into one of the twin towers. Then, as the tv reporter talked about the confusion and lack of details from air traffic control, we all watched, in shock, as a second plane appeared on the tv screen and careened into the second tower.
I remember the silence in that usually packed and noisy student center. I remember the one girl next to me holding my arm and starting to cry.
I remember the tv changing the headline to "America Under Attack". I remember the reporter's voice cracking as he asked if there was more information as the news of the Pentagon came flooding in.
In a quiet terror I walked alone back to my apartment and watched tv with my roomies, all of us glued to the news, in shock that we were under attack from a foe that would attack normal citizens on their way to work.
10 years alter, I realize, that maybe someday, if my sons continue their passion for fire fighters, maybe one day, they will be running into a building that is collapsing, just in the hope of saving one of those mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
This year I am just so very sad about it all, but I also see how this anniversary is a celebration of heroics and bravery, from not just firefighters and police, but from us all.
We have survived 10 years of facing a hidden foe. Of fighting a war that really can't be fought or won. Fighting someone that doesn't "fight fair". There is no exact military targets or armies to face. The "bad guys" aren't in uniform for us to pick out. They don't care if women and children and babies are the subjects of their attacks.
It has been 10 years, but more than any other anniversary, for me it feels like I just walked back to my apartment and finally grasped that the things falling out of the twin towers were mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.