That's the day it was all different.
I was home with a baby during the Oklahoma City bombing. Pregnant with another baby and on bed rest when Columbine happened. And I cried, and they frightened me.
But somehow, it was far away and couldn't hurt me or my family.
And then 9-11 happened and I had to drive past the tattered side of the Pentagon regularly. Had to go to NYC and see the gap in the skyline, and hear tales from my brother-in-law who'd witnessed the towers go down from nearby, and from my sister-in-law about how the smoke had traveled across the river to Brooklyn Heights.
For months after 9-11 I winced every time I heard the jets in their flight paths to National (NOT Reagan to us) Airport. Every time I heard a siren.
About 2 years later we had the DC sniper and I had a month of being frightened every time I took the girls to school. Every time I went to the gas station. Every time my husband and children weren't safe in the house with me. I was at the Home Depot where the last shooting happened days before it happened.
Suddenly the world was no longer safe. Because it had happened right where I live.
This morning I dropped JR at the high school (!) early. The school is in the park where my community garden is located, so I headed over there to pick tomatoes and raspberries.
And as I was picking things the sirens started. There were a good 10 minutes of sirens--fire trucks mostly I think. I couldn't tell if they were just passing the area or heading for where I was.
I finished picked and drove past the school. All was well. No sign of the trucks. Everything normal.
But that fear never, EVER goes totally away. All it takes is a siren, or an airplane to remind me of that horrible day when suddenly the world was no longer as safe as it had seemed.
As I said yesterday, I don't need flags or memorials to remember that. It's here with me.