The following is cross-posted on my Huffington Post Chicago byline.
I’m happy to say this is the first time in eight years I didn’t see 9/11 coming. I forgot almost completely about the anniversary of that infamous date until a few hours before this writing. In previous years, I’ve commemorated the day by describing my part in the exodus from Manhattan and entreating my blog readers to reach out to those they love.
Not this time. Today my thoughts are preoccupied with the wonderful new and potential clients I’ve met in the past few weeks, my budding romance with a softer-than-he-seems ex-Texan, worry over my nine-year-old cat’s weight loss, and glee over finally ordering HD TV for my 11-month-old HDTV.
Some might call my perspective disrespectful. A few weeks ago, a Chicago Tribune editorial referenced the 9/11 attacks to mock the debut of video poker in Illinois. The same day, on his widely read Capitol Fax blog, Rich Miller called out the Trib’s editorial board for making light of a national tragedy.
I think the Trib had the right idea. As I commented on Capitol Fax, maybe it’s finally time to take this day lightly. You can hold onto the past only for so long until looking backward becomes fear of moving forward. Sometimes bad humor is just bad humor. Sometimes a day should just be a day.
I lost colleagues, my sense of safety and serenity, and ultimately my hometown on 9/11. I walked eight miles home frightened of airplanes, and have spent eight years making sense of it all.
It’s that last part that matters. The events of 9/11, tragic as they were, are distant memories to me now. I will never forget their impact on my life. But they happened a long time ago. I have become a different person. I have grown. My likes, dislikes, friends, foes, career, and capacity to embrace an uncertain world have all changed. It’s hard for me to identify with the man I was back then.
The man I have become is willing to allow the dead to rest and life to go on. Grieving is long over. I feel no guilt in letting go. In fact, I feel no differently today than I did yesterday. Perhaps that’s as it should be.
In fact, that’s how it used to be. It occurs to me what I’m feeling today is a sense of normalcy about my life that I haven’t felt in awhile. I remember it well, though.
From eight years–and one day–ago.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.