Monday, September 11, 2006


Still Standing

At one time, at night -- when I turned my head just right at my apartment window -- I could see the lights of the of the World Trade Center.

Five years ago, primary day in New York, I was still lounging in bed. The day before, my boss had told us to come in a bit later, since there was anticipation that it would be a late evening.

I had the television on -- NBC, I believe -- and suddenly noticed someone having called in and talking to the anchor about a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. I immediately started channel-surfing and saw the same scene on all stations -- trained on the north tower, as black smoke came out of a hole in the side.

From that angle, the hole didn't seem that large. Like many people, I thought -- was this a Payne Stewart-situation, a small plane that had somehow flown off course and crashed into the building?

At this point, I was watching local 24-hour news station, New York 1. At around 9:00 a.m, anchor Pat Kiernan was speaking by phone to report Kristen Shaugnessey who was downtown, just a few blocks away, setting up to do primary-day stories.

She spoke about what she was seeing -- even as the television screen remained trained on the smoking tower. As she spoke to Kiernan, one could see a small shadow coming out of the right side of the screen. It seemed to disappear behind the smoking tower.

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion coming from the other side -- the other tower.

Amazingly, Kiernan, the anchor didn't see the other plane hitting the South tower. He seemed stunned by the sudden explosion.

Shaughnessey, of course, was speechless.

Like everyone else, I knew at that moment that a plane flying into one tower could be an accident. Not two.

Looking out my window, I could see black plumes of smoke coming from where the towers were.

And, the world began in a very different way.

Five years later, New York still stands. There remains a hole -- a physical one -- in the middle of city. For thousands, there remains an absence of a loved one.

For thousands more, there remains an emotional deprivation -- a loss of security, stability and a sense of self.

But, generally, New York still stands -- in all its quirky, self-confident, arrogant, funny, aggressive, ambitious, welcoming and affirming glory. All of its virtues and faults remain. Yes, elements of fear remain -- but not quite like in the days right after, when the looks of nervousness on subway riders were palpable, when a train would stop in a tunnel or on a bridge.

But, New Yorkers go on about their business now, as we did before.

As we will tomorrow.

And the next day.

And the next.

Technorati Tags: ,

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook