Today is 9/11. Somehow it strikes me as odd to remember that day in the middle of a new calamity.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly is a different calamity altogether. I’m not even sure it’s appropriate to compare the two but that’s where my mind is going.

Remembering 9/11 also makes me so conscious of the passage of time.

9/11 was 19 years ago! It’s interesting to think about who we were then and who we are now. My youngest was a baby in 2001. Now he’s a twenty-year-old stuck at home as his college didn’t reopen due to the pandemic.

It’s been my custom to commemorate 9/11 by looking through Portraits 9/11/01. In years past, I’d take that thick volume off the shelf, open it at random and read some of the obituaries the New York Times so admirably collected of those who died on 9/11.

Monuments are great markers of tragedy, but only obituaries provide a glimpse of the lives that were lost.

Now I can’t open that book as it’s sitting on the shelf at home in Chicago, and I am currently at our country home, thanks to the pandemic. Still, I don’t want this day to go by without commemorating it, and so I will quote some of the obituaries I have quoted on this blog before.

Each obituary gives only a snippet of the person’s life but it does drive home the fact that so many worlds were destroyed that day:

Paul K. Sloan – Always There For You (26 years old)

Stanley Smagala Jr. – Looking Foward to Baby (36)

Catherine Smith – Pepe Le Pew and Penelope (44)

George Smith – Crazy for His Grandmother (28)

James Gregory Smith – “Ready to Bite a Bear” (43)

Jeffrey Randal Smith – Miami and Medieval Poems (36)

Karl Smith – Boating and Breakfast (44)

May their memory be for a blessing.