I know what happened on December 7 and November 22 and, if I squint for a minute, January 28. (It may say something about me that I’m blurriest about the historical details of the event from my lifetime, although I remember my grade school teacher walking in to make an announcement very clearly.) But I don’t wake up with them ricocheting in the back of my brain, just as I don’t spend the drive to work every November 11 thinking about the armistice that ended what was perhaps the most appallingly bloody war in history. I don’t spend the first three days of July thinking about the consecrated ground that marked the Lee’s northernmost advance of the Civil War.

I don’t want to forget. Three thousand people going about their humdrum business — checking their email, cleaning an office, writing a PowerPoint presentation, sitting in first class and trying to cram for a meeting, washing dishes and thinking about the lunch crowd, the everyday American business of making a living — were murdered. As Jim Henley and Anil Dash write in their individual ways, "it’s not wrong to try to look forward as much as we look back." I agree. But in what year will I wake up and think that September 11 is just another day? When will I not look at my driver’s license and have that jolt of recognition?

Three years ago last August, I moved back to the East Coast from California. I went about the usual routine, getting phone service taken care of (difficult to do in the middle of the Verizon strike), transferring my auto insurance, getting a driver’s license. It took me a while to do that last one. Every day when I look in my wallet, I see a reminder of exactly how long it took: "Issued Date: 09-11-00" I spent the morning of September 11, 2001 in a server room, frantically trying to keep things running. I’d seen the first plume on CNN in the office lobby and assumed that a horrible accident had occured; only on my emergence hours later did I find out what had happened. My boss told me that my face turned gray. I work in northern Virginia; with very little rejiggering, I can imagine myself, my coworkers, my loved ones in the E-ring of the Pentagon that morning.

I know what happened on December 7 and November 22 and, if I squint for a minute, January 28. (It may say something about me that I’m blurriest about the historical details of the event from my lifetime, although I remember my grade school teacher walking in to make an announcement very clearly.) But I don’t wake up with them ricocheting in the back of my brain, just as I don’t spend the drive to work every November 11 thinking about the armistice that ended what was perhaps the most appallingly bloody war in history. I don’t spend the first three days of July thinking about the consecrated ground that marked the Lee’s northernmost advance of the Civil War.

I don’t want to forget. Three thousand people going about their humdrum business — checking their email, cleaning an office, writing a PowerPoint presentation, sitting in first class and trying to cram for a meeting, washing dishes and thinking about the lunch crowd, the everyday American business of making a living — were murdered. As Jim Henley and Anil Dash write in their individual ways, "it’s not wrong to try to look forward as much as we look back." I agree. But in what year will I wake up and think that September 11 is just another day? When will I not look at my driver’s license and have that jolt of recognition?