I flew from New York City to Dallas, Texas this week on Sept. 11th.
Come to think of it, this is about the third or fourth time I've flown on the anniversary of 9/11. And each time I've done so, the reaction to flying on a commercial airplane from my fellow passengers gets less and less.
The first time I flew somewhere on a 9/11 anniversary it was Sept. 11, 2002. One year from the fateful day. And passengers were tense. Flight attendants were nervous. The airline personnel clearly acted differently than usual.
But as the years go by, the apprehension has subsided; the angst greatly reduced.
This week, it was just another day in the air.
Everyone was carrying on as if nothing had happened on this historic date. Some passengers were typically obnoxious, arguing with ticket agents about some issue important to them.
As we landed, there was even an older man who was in the lavatory as we were about 5 thousand feet from landing. The flight attendants kind of rolled their eyes and banged on the door, saying, "Sir, sir -- you have to come out now, we're landing."
Somehow, he managed to finish his business and stroll out of the restroom about 30 seconds before the wheels touched the tarmac.
You think that would have happened on Sept. 11, 2002? Or 2003? Or even 2004?
We have resumed the normal routines of our lives. It's back to business, back to the hum-drum world that makes us jump on a plane when we really don't want to, criss-crossing the country for business or pleasure.
We have almost completely forgotten what 9/11 felt like.
Our guard is down, our attitude blase'. I realized when I got home from the airport that I left a container of liquid in my briefcase.
No one noticed.
For all the frisking and fancy new equipment at our nation's airport checkpoints, here I am, a schlubby 48 year old white guy, carrying a container of liquid in my briefcase -- and no one caught it, either on my way from Dallas/Ft. Worth to LaGuardia or from Newark back to DFW.
And this was ON September 11, 2008.
No, we've forgotten, all right. Even in New York City, the usual media coverage seemed muted and somewhat scarce. There were the obligatory stories about that fateful day, but most of the news was about Mayor Bloomberg having a beef with how long the new "Freedom Tower", the massive edifice that will replace the Twin Towers, is taking to build.
We have forgotten.