Ten years is a long time, about one-eighth of an average human life span.
Ten years ago my daughters were four and two years old, full of noise and innocence.
Today they are all attitude and ear plugs and iPods.
Ten years may be a long time, but they still grow up fast.
America has had to grow up fast in the past ten years too.
Gone is the thin veneer of invincibility, the innocent belief that we are somehow immune from the ills of the rest of the world simply because we dwell on American soil.
Our innocence forever shattered in a single day, in the roar of jet engines plowing into glass and steel.
We learned new phrases since, phrases like anthrax letters and Code Orange; we learned the difference between shoe bombs and dirty bombs, between hard and soft targets.
We learned that heroes aren't extraordinary people after all but rather ordinary people willing to put others above self when suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstance.
"God have mercy on their souls, for surely we will not," that from John McCain.
Oh yes, we were angry.
We took the top off a mountain in Tora Bora, toppled a government in Afghanistan, shocked and awed a dictator in Iraq who in reflection may not have had anything to do with September 11th at all.
But he had committed enough other crimes.
For many, it was close enough.
And suddenly, after years of eavesdropping and analysis, after thousands of tips and leads, in a Pakistani compound unremarkable except for its tall walls, we found that our years of searching had turned the most reviled monster on the planet into an old man living under a blanket.
Do I long for the days when my little girls were still my little girls?
Sometimes, but that's not the real world.
Everybody grows up.
You just have to hope that the sacrifices made are worth the experiences gained.
And that what is left when the innocence is forever lost, is the ability to handle, with eyes wide open, whatever the future holds.