It was the worst thing to happen in my lifetime. All white hot terror on us in a moment. The terror stayed for days, while people clustered with their closest friends and relations, staggered by the force of it. Terror moved on, but it was replaced by a maturing knowledge that things were different now and would never go back to how they were before we saw what we saw ( and then saw it again, and then saw it again), before we knew what we now know, before we lost what we’ve lost.

That was 19 years ago today. 19 years before most of us had any notion of a novel Coronavirus, which has, of course, become the other worst thing to happen in my lifetime. The loss of this is multiplied almost 70 times over, yet parceled out in daily reports that obscure its immensity and protect us from the terror that a sudden attack delivers. The impact of this will almost certainly outweigh, in terms of scale and duration, the impact of 9/11, yet 19 years from now I don’t expect we will mark a specific day as the locus of our loss.

Be safe today. Hug your dear ones.

One thought on “19

  1. Sigh. So well put. It’s the day I defined four kinds of fear: A plane hit a skyscraper, it must be an accident; another plane hit the World Trade Center, it’s no accident; a plane hit the Pentagon, so it’s war; and “What do you mean there’s another plane still up there?” The present year has had moments of all four types.

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