Last night I watched the “9/11 – Ten Years Later” documentary on CBS. It began following a rookie New York City firefighter, but ended up being a firsthand account of the events at the World Trade Center. Ten years later the rookie reflected back by saying, “I lost my innocence on that day.”
This particularly struck a chord with me above all his other comments. Back in 1998 there was a day that hosted a horrific event for me. A few years later I looked back on that day and said the same thing. To this day I believe I was innocent before that day and I was a completely changed and compromised person after that day. My writing went from happy-go-luck fairytales to dark, soul-searching commentary on life how I now see it.
I believe there is a moment in everyone’s life where our eyes open to what the world can be. For good or bad, at some point the curtain that was cast over us as children is lifted in such a way that our childhood innocence will never return.
“When he was six he believed that the moon overhead followed him. By nine he had deciphered the illusion, trading magic for fact—no trade backs. So this is what it’s like to be an adult. If he only knew now what he knew then.”
- Pearl Jam “I’m Open”
For some of us it happens younger than others, but at some point, for most people, that curtain is going to lift for one of countless reasons. I just pray for each person’s sake that it’s not because of something as horrifyingly tragic as 9/11.