How many anniversaries do people know by the day of the week? Most people probably don't know the day of the week on which they were born.
But there are a few days for which the day of the week is always remembered. Tuesday, September 11, 2001, is one of those days. And tomorrow is another Tuesday September 11.
Most of us well remember that day. What struck me was the weather: beautiful clear and moderate temperature, both here in Oregon and in New York City. For me, September is always a month of returning to business, of preparation, and also of tying things up. The days grow shorter, the weather becomes cooler, and every clear sunny day seems precious.
Tuesday also represents the practical start of the week, with Monday morning meetings complete, the work left undone from Friday and Monday needing attention, and priorities adjusted for the balance of time remaining in the week.
In my own case, we had one child starting kindergarten and another still in pre-school. When the attack occurred, our oldest one asked what it was. Her mother said it meant there might be a war, and our men might have to go and fight. The daughter asked the same question as many other children must have: "Will Daddy have to go to the war?"
But the Republic was not so desperate that it needed an even-then rapidly aging lawyer; it didn't need apparently even the taxes of the rich. Instead the burden of this war fell on a very small portion of the population, where it remains to this day. For the children of this part of the population, the answer was that Daddy and indeed Mommy also, would have to go to the war. In many cases they returned disabled and in thousands of families, they did not return at all.
I well recall those days just after 9/11, when no airplanes flew except fighter jets, and one wondered if this was the end of the attacks or just the beginning. At that time, I think there was nothing that the nation would not have done to strike back, and no sacrifice that the nation would not make. But no such demand was ever made, and we were told instead to "go shopping". (Although the right wing objects that President Bush never actually said those words exactly together, this is like complaining that Bogart never said "Play it again, Sam" in Casablanca.
And now here we are. A small amount of justice has been inflicted on that animal bin Laden, but the war still goes on. It's like we are our in our own vast Shackleton expedition, and we have returned to to the outskirts of civilization. For 18 months from late 1914 to mid 1916, Shackleton had been out of touch with the world. When after an astounding journey he reached a whaling station, he asked:
"When did the war end?"And the answer came:
The war has not ended. Millions are being killed. The world has gone mad.