The other night, my family had a cookout at my uncle's house. At the end of the night, when everyone was breaking up and about to go home, someone put it on the History Channel. It was playing that thing they put on every year around now, with no narration, only time stamps and video.
Since it was the beginning of the program, it was showing glimpses of a normal Tuesday. I think there were some parts of Good Morning America, some clips of President Bush jogging, all pretty early in the morning, before anything happened.
The first time I watched Star Wars Episode I, it struck me how that high voiced, pretty naive little boy in the movie would become Darth Vader. It's a weird feeling, because you already know what will happen later.
I got a feeling like that watching those clips.
Only it was for real.
When I see those clips and videos of the hours and minutes before the planes hit the towers, I know what's coming. I know that in the story, very soon, the nation will be rocked to its core. A chill will go down my spine, the cell reception will buckle under the weight of so many trying to just reach someone, and life will change forever. Irreversibly. It's the point of no return, and if we knew what was coming next...
The pre- and post-9/11 worlds do not come one without the other. In the future, when people are curious enough to ask my generation what it was like, we'll tell them what both times were like. We may have been shaken to the core, and a shadow cast over the future, but shadows aren't permanent, and the light came first.