Has it really been 14 years?
I hadn't even realized what day it was until I heard a brass quartet playing a slow-jam rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner as I rode by the McPherson Square metro station. Frankly, that's probably the extent of the Patriot Day observation I'll do. The morning bustle of one of the busiest courthouses in the United States didn't exactly lend itself to observing a moment of silence at 8:47 this morning.
Over the years, I've gone back and forth on how strongly I want to commemorate 9/11, waffling between "Support Our Troops!" platitudes and belligerent "America is the REAL aggressor!" college campus rhetoric. Now I fall somewhere in between.
Memorializing a terrorist attack is important, but we can't afford to think only about ourselves, even for one day. So reflecting about everything that has happened since those towers were knocked down, I'll simply acknowledge how privileged I am to exist in a society (and a body) where neither my physical safety nor my socioeconomic security have ever been put in serious danger. I recognize that many people, both at home and around the world, are denied that safety, while others choose to put themselves in harm's way to protect me.
What's more, I'm fortunate to have a job helping to safeguard access to justice and the rule of law. Institutions like courts protect societies from breaking down into overt violence, and (when we do our jobs right) give voice to the voiceless and do our part to ease structural violence.
Remember 9/11, but also remember that it's each of our duty to work toward a world where evil cannot take root in the soil of desperation.