Eight years ago I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. I lived in Illinois, a hour outside of Chicago.
Eight years ago my brother was one month out of basic training for the U.S. Navy.
Today I am 25, living in Alabama and working in Georgia. My brother is no longer in the Navy, but my boyfriend is in the Army. Both experienced two deployments because of what happened on this day eight years ago.
And young men and women are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's amazing how time and perspective changes some things, yet some stay the same.
Though I remember exactly where I was when it happened, that's not what I want to talk about. Year after year it might seem trite to keep talking about it, but what happens when we don't? What happens when 9/11 becomes just another day on the calendar?
Today used to be my grandfather's birthday - and it still is. But it's tainted a bit now, and I think he feels the same. It's hard to make today celebratory.
I remember the days and weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. The sense of pride I felt for America, the immediate defense that rose in me at the thought of our nation and our ideology being threatened.
Before some American's starting blaming our President, all American's felt united. It was like one brief, shining moment of patriotism that has somehow vanished over the years. It, too, has been tainted by fear and doubt, calls for appeasement and "tolerance." Sentiments against America, what she was founded for and stands for.
Suddenly the spirit of unity turned to divisiveness - there were protests that were, I assume, reminiscent of the Vietnam-era. And we've yet to regain unity as a country. There is still a sharp divide and both sides are to blame.
Over the last eight years, my views have changed dramatically, as I have changed dramatically in ways both personal and social.
I was a child then. I knew nothing of the world or what it means to work for what you have. Now I'm an adult and understand responsibility much larger than turning homework in on time.
When I started typing this, my intent was to talk about how pop culture embraced and nurtured both sides of the spectrum - most country musicians supported the war and a new crop of "hippies" (most notably indie and folk musicians, as well as many Hollywood celebrities) took the anti-war position.
Pardon me for straying, but I guess I felt there was something bigger to be said.
As I sit here, eight years after terrorist-led planes crashed into the World Trade Center, a field in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I wonder why we must be so divided.
For eight years it was Democrats/liberals harping on conservatives/Republicans, saying hateful things about our president, and now the roles are reversed, But instead of taking the high road, the conservatives are doing the same thing.
A difference of opinion doesn't make either party a liar.
Military reporter Lily Gordon offers some insight on her blog.
(This was meant to be posted yesterday, but couldn't be due to issues with our blogging service.)