Common Sense

The World Before Sept. 11

As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, I can't help but think of life five years ago "before" Sept. 11.

Five years ago this month, this summer, when the weightiest thing on most folks' minds was vacation. Then after that, school for the kids. Then back to work for the adults.

But that was yet to come.

I think about all those who died on that dark September day. What occupied them these August days, five years ago? Where did they go? What did they do?

I'm sure, nothing special. But for their loved ones later, the memories were and are extra special.

Maybe they took in Tim Burton's remake of "Planet of the Apes" or Eddie Murphy's "Dr. Dolittle 2."

Or maybe some of them caught "Pearl Harbor," with promos that urged viewers to "re-live the biggest foreign attack ever on U.S. soil."

Five years ago this month, tech stocks were coming down, but compared to today, they were still awfully high. How many of them were buying? How many were selling?

I suspect, in retrospect, they did the stuff we all do, take in a baseball game with our kids, sneak a meal out with our spouse. Maybe rent a movie.

Maybe the Wall Street guys splurged on some weekend flight to Nantucket. Security was easier then. Getting through an airport wasn't a hassle then.

It was different then. They were alive then.

You know, everyday I come into work through the Lincoln Tunnel that connects Manhattan to New Jersey, I get a fantastic view of the city before descending under the earth.

I look at Towers that are no longer there and think of five years ago, when they were. When the people who worked in them were there too — alive and well.

Sometimes I want to stop the clock, but I can't. Because that was then and this is now..

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