The second anniversary is another solemn memorial to those lost, but it’s smaller in scale. The third, forth, and fifth years, focus shifts from the fallen to the politics of the Iraq war, and more people push September 11 to the back of their minds, accepting it as part of the new normal. It’s no longer personal. It’s more like a faded scar that you’re aware of, but no longer feel.
One day, I’m looking at a poster that lists the names of firefighters lost on 9/11. One name catches my eye. Battalion Commander Robert W. McPadden, Age 30, FDNY , Engine 23. The name strikes me. Bob was a guy I went to high school with. We ran in different crowds, but I remember him as being a very decent guy. And that day suddenly becomes very personal all over again.
And it hits me. If you lived here, the 11th of September will never leave you.