As Ezra Klein says, 9/11 is no longer a day with any meaning. It's a talking point that we are never allowed to forget, as Bush repeats it over and over with a fanatical ease. I think Ezra's five and a half years too late in saying so, though. The political appropriation took place practically from day one.
There are people who actually lost friends and relatives in the 2001 attacks. There are people who saw the devastation in New York, who were profoundly affected. Those people deserve respect. Out of that respect, I have little to say to them.
And then there is the rest of the country, who have never stopped talking about how "9/11 changed everything." I don't think it's crass to point out that Fleawallow, USA (population: practically nobody) probably didn't lose anyone six years ago, and has never been in any real danger. But as a country, we lept at the chance to gnash our teeth and wring our hands--which is all well and good, except that we never stopped.
Six years later, Americans have squeezed as much angst and increasingly-hollow emotional resonance as we could from those deaths, to the point where I wonder if we are not actually enjoying it a little. All I would like us to consider is that perhaps we should see what it's like moving out from under their shadow. The attacks in 2001 were a tragedy, but they do not define us.
In the previous two years, I eschewed commemorating the eleventh day of September. Today I only mention it in the hopes that I will not feel like doing so again.