All day long you've probably been thinking about where you were and what you were doing five years ago today. Tragically, September 11, like November 22 for an older generation, is one of the days that will forever be printed on the American psyche. That's especially true on the fifth anniversary. For some reason when an anniversary ends in a five or a ten it somehow seems more symbolic.
It's certainly true that as times passes we begin to see historical events in a different light. Personally, I've started to look at that fateful day in a way that no longer gets me down and depressed. Don't get me wrong. I still mourn the innocent civilians who lost their lives, and as a former New Yorker I know that it was not just towers but, in fact, families that collapsed on that day.
But what encourages me is remembering all those predictions we heard five years ago. Remember everything was going to change? Well a lot has. This nation is no longer as secure as we once thought it was. It now takes a little while longer to board a plane. We've all added new phrases to our vocabulary like "religious zealots." Even five years later that phrase still doesn't make sense.
But take a moment as you remember what happened five years ago, and think about all the things that have not changed. We still live in the most free country in the world. Our health care system may be flawed, but it's still the best. We still have farmers who produce enough food, not only for our nation, but for the world beyond. Our artists still inspire us with their talents, and normal everyday human beings inspire us with their generosity. And if you're lucky, and I hope you are, you still enjoy the strength of your friendships, the love of your spouse and the laughter of your children.
Perhaps the best tribute to the 2,973 people who were killed that day is not to dwell on what we lost, but to celebrate those special everyday things that they can no longer experience. And maybe that's something we need to remember not just on the fifth anniversary, and not just on September 11, but on everyday of the year.