It will go down as the day that lives in infamy, our generation’s version of Pearl Harbor except worse.
We will tell our grandchildren about September 11, 2001, the same way we were reminded of Pearl Harbor by the previous generation.
When it came it blotted out our sun and caused America to lurch into a state of deep crisis. Even a decade later the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, still claiming lives, are a testament to how horrific the aftermath is.
It was the day that America lost its innocence, the day that we realized we could be attacked by militant maniacs who thought nothing of killing thousands of innocents.
They came with hate in their hearts and left behind a devastated country. Even now the scale of the massacre is hard to take in.
The victims speak to us across the decade, their faces pinned in our memory as surely as those of relatives closest to us who have passed.
They ranged in age from 2-year-old Christie Hanson and young 4-year-old Juliana McCourt, who died with her mother Ruth from Cork, on their way to Disneyland, when their plane was hijacked, to the oldest Robert Norton, aged 85.
In between was a cross section of American life of ordinary people caught up in a horrible nightmare that a decade later is still hard to fathom.
The hijackers carried with them what WB Yeats called “fanatic hearts,” and turned “hatred into sport.” The results were horrific.
At Pearl Harbor at least the target was military. The 3,000 killed on 9/11 were innocent civilians or uniformed police and fire officers trying to help save lives.
When death came calling on that perfect September day it took victims from every conceivable walk of life.
The individual memories have faded in many cases, but for the families concerned this 10th anniversary is yet another reminder of what happened their loved ones that tragic day.
How many lonely days and nights they must have spent never hearing or seeing loved ones again. The 10th anniversary again allows a communion for the American masses with those who died, but for those individually affected the pain never ends.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore