I went to bed early last night, and so didn’t hear the news of bin Laden’s death until the radio flipped on this morning. It took me a minute to wake up enough to digest the news, and even then I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I found myself thinking – not for the first time recently – that here is a moment when the world changes; history is happening before our very eyes.
When I was ten or eleven years old, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before the first Iraq War, before the internet and cell phones, before September 11 or Katrina, I remember announcing to my parents with astonishing self-centeredness, “Nothing interesting is happening in my lifetime.”
I listened to the radio for awhile this morning, then got up and went in to Harper’s room, where she was still sleeping sideways on the bed, tangled in a mess of sheets and books and stuffed animals. I crawled into bed next to her; she blinked at me and squirmed but fell back asleep. “Something interesting is happening,” I wanted to whisper to her, knowing that there was no way to talk to her about this. September 11 will always be ancient history to her, the way the end of the Vietnam War is to me, even though it happened only two years before I was born. She has no idea who Osama bin Laden is, and now, he’ll always be history to her as well.
I’m glad for that, I guess, and there are plenty of other things that I hope are history by the time she’s fully aware of the world around her. Interesting times, indeed.