Some of the almost 3000 flags in Battery Park.
Anniversaries aren't as arbitrary as some of the other ways we've sliced time into manageable pieces -- 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 12 months in a year. A year at least means something tangible, one more trip around the sun, one more cycle through the seasons, but there's no real reason why ten years is more of a milestone than nine years or twelve years.
But milestones do remind us to pause, to think, to reflect and be grateful; they give us something to grab on to in the flood of daily life. We're like dancers spinning, whipping our heads around to find that fixed point that lets us balance so we can keep turning, turning, turning.
Yesterday morning my friend Jayne and I were in Hand in Hand, a line of thousands of people ringing lower Manhattan and joining hands for a minute of silence at 8:46 am. It was sunny and warm, a perfect September morning and I closed my eyes and sent my prayers up into the soft breeze while holding hands with a stranger.
We've done so much damage to ourselves this decade, even worse than the horrors of that single awful day, and it can't all be undone. There's no going back to Before, and standing in line holding hands doesn't make that any different.
Unless it inspires us to keep working for a better After.