I'm writing this at 3:45 am, still dizzy from jet lag, memories and sangria. I just returned from a week in Barcelona, and for the first time in my life I feel homesick for a place I hardly know. I'll show and tell more about it next week but for now I'm still readjusting to life with my first love, New York, where in a few hours people will wake and commemorate this somber and sacred day.
Ten years ago, I walked along the Hoboken waterfront on my morning commute and saw a smoking hole toward the top of a famous downtown building. A cab driver told me he saw a plane hit the trade tower and I took the train into Manhattan anyway. I thought it was a strange accident, not an intentional attack that would dismantle the city and rattle the world. I was 24 and too idealistic to believe that people had anything other than good intentions.
Yesterday I flew toward my adopted hometown and thought about how different the skyline looked the first time I saw it from a window seat 12 years ago. I wove my way through the customs line while the 9/11 dedication played on TVs overhead and the national anthem rang through the speakers. A border patrol agent checked my U.S. passport and I smiled as he told me "Welcome home."
Today I'll think about the people in the planes and buildings in Washington, Virginia, and New York ten years ago, and the people who miss them everyday. I'll reflect on the families who spend months apart as one serves overseas in a war that feels like it will never end.
Then again, I'm 34 and old enough to know that everything eventually does.