So everywhere today, you are seeing and hearing "Never Forget." I don't forget, and I can't forget. But this year, for the first time, this day isn't nearly as bad for me as it has been.
September 11 was the first truly impactful event of my adult life. I was still a child then Challenger exploded, and my reaction to it was childish and appropriate (maybe? I honestly remember only that my initial though was that the teacher who told us was kidding, and then being sad. Otherwise - blank slate). It doesn't sit in me, peeking around the corner every once in a while to remind me about sadness and how little control we have in our world.
But 9/11 - it changed us all, in enormous and minute ways. It settled on us, reminding us daily of how small we are in the world, and how precious our lives are. It replaced sunny optimism with fear and anxiety. It tore families apart as our country ended up engaging in wars halfway around the world with mixed results at best. It deepened the divide between political leanings and created a chasm that few can comfortably stand astride, wanting to have a middle ground.
It used to be that when I looked back, I thought about how it almost ruined our carefully planned wedding. How self-centered of me. Now, I look back and think about how much more poignant it made the wedding, because we all so deeply needed something positive to happen, and it was so meaningful to me that many of our guests traveled in a more complicated way and world to come celebrate with us. Seeing each of them, hugging them, telling them how glad we were to see them, that they had come - it was truly meant. Everyone knew it, and probably felt it.
It was a pretty good party. And it showed me that you cannot stop the good in the world either.