I can't believe it's already been five years, I can't believe it's only been five years.
The reason I had trouble writing this post though, was that I no longer know how to feel about the day. I'd only been in New York for thee months when it happened, so I was lucky enough not to lose anyone in the towers. And as a relative newbie in the city, New York really wasn't a huge part of my identity yet. It was just a place I'd ended up, and didn't mind sticking around for a few years.
This isn't to say I'm apathetic. I'll never forget the screams coming from the office where my co-workers watched as the towers fall, not knowing whether their loved ones had made it out in time, the walk from Midtown to Astoria as an Air Force jet scrambled overhead, just wanting desperately to shut myself in my room, talking to my parents in Japan who stayed up until I finally got through to them on the phone at 4 in the morning their time. September 11, 2001 is one day I'll never forget.
And since the first anniversary of 9/11 and every year since, I've shut the TV off for the entire day. Each year, I try to watch the Ground Zero ceremonies, but I just couldn't because the memories were too painful. But this year, it's because I got pissed off. Everything I feel about 9/11, it's not really about 9/11 any more. It's become anger at the political and commercial exploitation of the tragedy and how willing people are to rationalize bad policy, and the asinine debate over whether 9/11 movies are "too soon". 9/11 has become just another buzzword. It means everything to everyone, and consequently, nothing at all.
So on this day, I just try to remember what I went through that day, without commentary or agenda. At least I have my memories - however painful - and that can't be co-opted.
If you haven't already, it would seriously behoove you to check out the graphic adaptation of The 9/11 Report over at Slate and the What If 9/11 Never Happened feature that New York magazine did a while back.