"Turn on your television ... a plane just hit the World Trade Center in New York."
I can't even imagine how many times those words were uttered twenty years ago, but like nearly everyone of age at the time, I can tell you exactly where I was the moment I learned. And I know almost every moment of that day and the mournful, hollow, existential days that followed. But what about the "carefree" summer months leading up to that horrific moment?
Dan Zak and Ellen McCarthy of the Washington Post have put together a powerful piece of reflection that is beautifully written and thoughtful in its look back twenty years plus to the Summer of 2001, The Summer Before 9/11:
The country woke up with Triple Sec and cranberry juice on its breath. Just out of reach: the scuffed brick of a Nokia phone, a bottle of pills to stoke the serotonin, two and a half pounds of more than you needed to know about President John Adams. The phone on the nightstand couldn’t read the news, so on went the television. Something about a woman in the Houston suburbs who drowned her five children in the bathtub. And that D.C. intern — another intern scandal — was still missing, and her parents were suspicious of a congressman with whom she allegedly had an affair. In Las Vegas that week, Whitney Houston accepted a BET lifetime achievement award at the ripe old age of 37.
“I’m a survivor!” she exclaimed, echoing a Destiny’s Child hook from the spring, and made a prediction: “The best is yet to come.”