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For most people, 9/11 brings indelible memories. Commentator Martha Ackmann remembers moving into a new house, her mother's birthday, and a train she wanted desperately to hear.
Martha Ackmann / Courtesy of Martha Ackmann

September 11 was my late mother's birthday. When I called her that morning, I worried about whether to wish her a happy birthday or tell her about the towers. 

A view of Northampton, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Office Of Travel and Tourism

A couple weeks ago, I had a plumbing issue. My garbage disposal came to a grinding halt, and none of the usual tricks to get it going again were working. 

A black bear cub.
Ken McMillan / Creative Commons /

Two years ago, I saw 10 bears, but after breaking my leg last year, I didn’t get out much, and saw only two. 

Each time, it brought my legs and breathing to an abrupt halt. 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens was regarded by many as a truly nonpartisan judge.
Steve Petteway / U.S. Supreme Court

When I heard the news of Justice John Paul Stevens’s death, I'd just finished teaching a summer course on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Commentator Ilan Stavans sees the value in having a limit on how much we can say.
Ansgar Koreng / Creative Commons /

This commentary will last a total of two and a half minutes. That is, I have 425 words to make my point. It isn’t much.