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Two moments which show that the events of last September continue to have impacts in some unusual ways:

A couple of days before the 11th this year, Sarah asked me to help her open a little, flat tin of lib balm. We bought it at REI several years ago; the vanilla flavor is pleasant and the beeswax helps soothe chapped lips. But as soon as she asked me to help her open it -- it just pushes closed, but there is almost no edge to try to grasp when you want to open it -- I was transported back to the Jefferson Memorial approach to the 14th Street bridge. As we were walking home last year, she handed me the same tin with the same request. At the time, it was calming to have a simple task to focus on while we approached the bridge and the smoking Pentagon. The act of trying to pry open that tiny tin pulled me back to that eery walk across the bridge.

When I stepped out for lunch on the 11th this year, I didn't realize I was quite as anxious as I was about a repeat performance. Sarah and I were talking back to the TV news the night before when the threat level was raised to orange with no reason given other than the anniversary. But a fire truck came down 7th Street just then. That's odd because our office is across 7th from a firehouse -- they don't have the lights and sirens going when they are coming back from a fire. This truck was coming from someplace further up 7th. It stopped briefly at "our" firehouse before heading down towards the Mall. And I discovered the effect of the news coverage when my first thought was, "I guess they did hit again." That wasn't the case and I don't know where the fire truck was going, but I think anytime it looks like all of DC's fire trucks are going in one direction, I'll be worried.