On this weekend I am enjoying my first weekend in 11 months as a drilling Reservist, attending a class in Baltimore. I am at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) located just outside the gates of Fort McHenry, former home of the original Star-Spangled Banner.
Of course my thoughts are on another such flag on this day.
September 11, 2001, was my fourth day in the Navy, assuming you count ROTC — and, as I was aboard a Navy base for orientation week and I hadn’t actually started college yet, for these purposes I do. For better or worse, the terror attacks of that day have affected every single day since and have had immense impact on the course of countless lives, including my own. As I drill in this NOSC that is now well-defended on account of 9/11’s series of sequels, its effects right here at home are crystal clear.
It is a mark of progress, I suppose, that 15 years on, 9/11 is more or less just another day in America, if slightly more somber than those adjacent. But as the first world event to greet me as I entered adulthood, I will never be fully comfortable with that.