Today the world (or at least our corner of it) pauses to remember September 11, 2001. I pause as well. It's impossible not to.
But 9/11 has a different meaning for me, as it does for a small chunk of the population (say, 1/3 of 1%). September 11th is Jess's birthday.
On September 11 1975, my future wife was born. On 9/11/1991, a couple months after I graduated high school, I gave her a handmade card I put together in Print Shop, which showed Uncle Sam's finger-pointing "I want you!" statement. Inside, I added, "to have a happy birthday." We weren't dating yet.
Every birthday since then, we've celebrated together. Six years ago, the events everyone else associates with 9/11 derailed our plans quite a bit. We spent the day in shock, both of us having left work and watching everything unfold live on CNN. We refused to let the day's events shut down our celebration entirely, though, and we still went out for a steak dinner. It was without a doubt the strangest dinner out I've ever had, and I hope none ever match it.
Yesterday, we had another steak dinner (a day early; we couldn't make it work tonight). And what did we look back on? Not 9/11/2001, but 9/11/1991, when an over-clever 18-year old gave his best friend's sister a slightly inappropriate birthday card. We were dating four months later, and haven't looked back since.
Happy Birthday, Jessica. They haven't stolen this day.