I've finally figured out why 9-11 gets harder each year...
Because each year I see more and more clearly how much it changed everything, and each year into this Long War I feel further and further away from the innocence that died that day.
I want to live in a world where the president doesn't have to speak harsh truths about life and death and good and evil, where it's inconceivable that buildings a hundred stories high can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. I wish I didn't know what it sounds like when reporters say "the building just fell in on itself" with voices steeped in professionalism but full of inchoate shock and grief as they squeeze out the words. I don't want to live in a world where Valour-IT is needed, where I watch hundreds of young men who look just like Johnathan Benson walk through the USO in such strength and innocence on their way to war, where I cry because a friend tells me of his son's inner agony after multiple deployments and encounters with barbarism beyond description.
I want my innocence back.
But each year takes us further away, further into a darkness that sometimes I doubt we even have the courage required to survive. I hate the terrorists more and more every day... Every day I want to raise my fist to them, every day I understand better how warriors steel themselves for what must be done.
Rage? No, there is no rage. There is righteous and fortifying anger. They stole lives and futures and beauty and even a part of our freedoms.
Damn them! They even stole our innocence.