Ground Zero

This coming Sunday will be the 15-year anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. 

Nothing can be more central to the ecology and spirit of NYC, or of being American, than what happened on 9/11. With millions, I watched the Twin Towers fall on live television in 2001. For those of us at a distance, it began as another sensational moment. But New Yorkers had no benefit of distance. Then one errant plane was followed by a second, both intentional. Dots on the screen became people leaping from windows. Some fantastic accident turned into the slaughter of 3000 relatives, friends, relatives of friends. Distance diminished into solidarity.

My friend Andy and I sat in his car, staring at an empty sky. He said, “After this, nothing will ever be the same again.”

As I looked into those two pools at the 9/11 Memorial this weekend, I remember. I saw several people there, remembering, who must have been family members or friends. A single yellow flower placed in a name here and there. Nothing was, is, or will ever be the same again.

And I remember more recent attacks of terror in places like France, Turkey, Belgium, and Florida.

I think of the people killed by violence. I think of the families and friends and communities who survive them. I think of the innocents caught in the crossfire, the fallout, the aftermath. The holes that remain in this memorial echo the emptiness that’s left behind for all of us. Wounds that will never heal. The scars that will forever remain.

…and define us.

(This is post was originally published as part of a 7-part series on NYC. Click to read part 1.

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