On the morning of 12 September 2001, I got on a plane to Skopje, Macedonia, and while I was there, I wrote this for TIME magazine.
Early on the morning of 11 September, I thought that my next day's travel to Skopje, Macedonia was somewhat risky. After all, there had been a smoldering civil war there for months and the current ceasefire was shaky at best. But, of course, 11 September is the day the entire world became a war zone, so flying to this tiny battlefield in the Balkans seems no different than staying in London as far as personal security is concerned.
I rather wonder why I'm going, to be honest. I mean, who cares about Macedonia now? I say that not because I am insensitive to the very real suffering of victims and their families in Macedonia and not because the scale of the killing in the U.S. eclipses many times over everything that has happened in Macedonia during the past years. I grew up in New Jersey and looked at the twin towers every day of my life for nearly two decades and say this because the world will never be the same again. With civilians considered military targets, it's only a matter of time before free societies become more militarized.