The previous quotes are from “New York is a Girl” by Robert Sand. It was reprinted in Ecology and the Jewish Spirit: Where Nature and the Sacred Meet by Ellen Bernstein.
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 remembered. 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.
NYC is ground zero for what it means to be an American today.