Yeah, what a freaky day. Woken up being told that a plane crashed into the WTC, then watching as another flies in. Living in Arlington I actually was outside and saw the plane that crashed into the Pentagon fly over my house. I knew right away what it was. I'd been following the Taliban after they blew up those two centuries old Buddha statues. I'd been likewise informed about their assassination of the Northern Alliance leader days prior, so it was pretty obvious.
But it's amazing to think adults that are 18 were barely in elementary school when it happened. No one that wasn't around or old enough can ever understand that day, and the unity that emerged from it. You think, well, it was another Pearl Harbor. But WWII was going on, it wasn't totally out of the blue. Most importantly you didn't have TV watching the attacks unfold. Here, it was insane. No idea if some nation was invading, or what the hell was behind it for most folks. The Clinton years, hell, since the fall of the USSR, for the first time in generations there was no threat. Went to sleep the tenth, woke up to the apocalypse.
I think the biggest thing is the aftermath. Living in this area, near DC. There was before and after 9/11. 60 years from now things will never again be like they were before it. Security checks, every federal building being the next thing to a DMZ. Most of the country, aside from air travel, things went back to normal. Conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq aside. But here, there'll never be a return to the freedom/look at a federal building funny and have rifles trained on you in seconds like before 9/11. Such a turning point, such a sad day. But the worst thing is that you've now got people who were too young to remember before 9/11 that are adults. Same way that I'm 28 and don't remember the cold war/before the fall of the USSR. Eleven years on, I think what this day represents most now is how fast time moves by and how short our lives truly are.
Whiny introspection over.