Written on 9/11/2012: Posted on 9/12/2012
I live in a city that has been built off of decadent dreams and determination; a city that has seen dim days and darkness; and a city that has dug deeply. I live in the greatest city in the world. I wasn’t here when the lights went down on Broadway, or when a bomb rustled underground—or when the towers fell—But I am here now—and I can tell you—There’s NO place quite like New York City.
It’s a quiet morning in the Big Apple—a somber one. I walk out of the subway station at Union Square. I walk south. En route to an early morning coffee date, I spot the Freedom Tower proudly standing over downtown New York. I close my eyes. I smile. I inhale. I hold my breath. I exhale. I open my eyes. It’s still there. And so is New York City’s heartbeat.
Eleven years ago, today, the heart of this city went into arrest—and the big apple—the state—and the country mourned the loss of thousands of people as two of the tallest buildings in the United States came crumbling to the ground after two planes crashed directly into them during morning rush hour.
I look to my left, and I see three young girls, books in tow, heading to class. These young girls, who can be no older than sophomores in college, were in elementary school when the 9/11 attacks took place. They could have had parents in the buildings—they could have lived across the country—they could have been banned from watching the tele in school (I was). But they are here now.
I look at my phone. 7:50am. I was heading into school. I was getting ready for a Code of Conduct Meeting. I’d been to New York City less than a handful of times. But I am here now.
I check my Facebook—friends who lost friends—friends who lost family members post. A former co-worker reposts his video of the tragedy—and people across the world are Instagramming memorial photos. Followers and those I follow are Tweeting their tributes. I note emails from friends who have moved away from this city—friends that spent many years here before moving away. Friends that experienced the terror of the time—that watched the buildings come down. Their souls are all here even if they are physically far away.
I watch as people walk their dogs past me. They are older. I see a man in his fifties—a woman in her forties—another man—and a woman staring at 1 World Trade from her seat outside a coffee shop. These people could have been here – these people could have worked in one of the buildings– they could have seen the completion in the 1970’s—they could have bragged about living in the city with the tallest towers in the world. These people are breathing. They are living. They are remembering. We are all remembering.
It’s now night and I watch as two children dance under the Washington Square Park arch. They weren’t alive when the towers came down, when the future idea of war for our soldiers suddenly became the present; when people cried and mourned. These children may not have been thoughts, even, but they are here now—in a community that strives to live on despite the past.
No matter where we were—what age we were---or are now—what connection we had—being here—in this city today—connects us all. This beautiful, brilliant city that 8 million call home…this beautiful, brilliant city that breathes despite the dust—
This city that’s heart beats despite that dreary morning.
To those who lost their families—their friends—their colleagues—their loved ones—in any of the 9/11 attacks or post 9/11 attacks--my heart is with you. Forever and Always. We Remember.