Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/11 - Nine years later

This old tree was completely uprooted and died, an artist created a sculpture to commemorate it's long life in NYC.
As I sit here in my Brooklyn kitchen on September 10th, I am reminded that tomorrow is 9/11 and the anniversary of when the towers fell. 

Now I could sit here like many other bloggers and people who like to "yell into an empty room" about the conspiracies and Bin Laden but I would rather discuss what is really on my mind and ask a few questions which no one can seem to answer, not really.

First by living in New York I learned to view 9/11 in a different way.  In a more personal way.  Every single person that was here when those planes crashed into the towers has a story to tell, they remember exactly what they were doing at the moment they either HEARD the noises or SAW the smoke and BREATHED in the debris.  I know that everyone in our country can remember what they were doing also but to actually hear or see a plane crash into a building, it's not something you can ever un-hear or un-see. 

A former co-worker of mine who lives in Brooklyn but was in class in the city got stuck and could not get home, she had to WALK from 68th street up to Harlem where her boyfriend lived, she could not get in touch with her mother and could not get home for 2 days!  During this time a lot of people really did not know what was going on and if there would be more attacks, it was very unsettling for her, basically life stopped and there was nothing she could do about it. 

In an excerpt from a book called "Subwayland" by: Randy Kennedy.  I read a story about the train conductor on the No. 1 line, that was one of the train lines that went right under the towers.
The excerpt is entitled "Last Train" and excuse the pun but it really drives the point home.

"When Carlos Johnson woke at his usual hour- 3:30a.m.- on Tuesday, September 11th, he did not know that hundreds of miles away, a 190-ton jet sat on the runway in Boston, bound for the very place he was bound that day.

He did not know, as he parked his No. 1 subway train at its terminal in the Bronx, as he took his morning break, going downstairs for a bowl of oatmeal and a slice of toast, that the jet was closing its doors, about to pull away from the gate.

And he did not know that when he rolled out of the terminal for his second trip that day-his train designated Van Courtlandt 748, for 7:48a.m.-that it would be the last time he would travel to the end of the 83-year-old subway tunnels that have been his office and his occupation for the past nine years.".......

..........."Like hundreds of thousands of people in the city Mr. Johnson remembers events that morning with powerful clarity.  He remembers that when he pulled into the Chambers Street station, one stop north of the World Trade Center, the digital clock at south end of the station clicked 8:45 as he watched.

The doors closed and he sped south.  He pulled into the Cortlandt Street stop and brought the train to a halt at exactly 8:48, just as the first jet slammed into the north tower.  But he still had no idea of the role he was playing in that day's events, taking one of the last trains through that would later be known as ground zero."

Johnson said, "People who had gotten out of the train started running back down the stairs,"......."And there were other people still trying to get up the stairs.  I saw people get knocked down........and I heard someone say: 'They're shooting upstairs!  They're shooting!  Someone has a gun!' "

.......he envisioned the gunfight spilling down the steps and onto his train, he didn't feel the building or tracks shake and the lights never even flickered.  He and his partner decided to close the doors and get the train out of the danger of said gunfight.  When Mr. Johnson got his train downtown he got in touch with a supervisor who told him it was not a gunfight but some sort of explosion.  It was all very confusing but he had to get back to work and take the no. 1 train back up town....

"The strangest thing he remembers now is that he headed north again, taking his train back toward the burning tower just as another plane was minutes away from hitting the other tower, he saw no pandemonium.  In fact, he picked up only a few people beneath the World Trade Center, and no one on the platform seemed panicked anymore.

Johnson said, "I guess it's kind of like the eye of the was almost peaceful."  Johnson finished his run and five minutes after he pulled into the terminal he ran to find out what happened, he watched on television as the first tower collapsed.  Then he heard word on the radio that the tunnels had also collapsed.

"That's when it hit me," he said.  "That's when it finally dawned on me that I was right in the middle of it.  And right then and there, I said a prayer for all those people I saw going up the stairs that day at Cortlandt Street.  I hope every one of them made it out."

As transplant residents in Brooklyn we have been touched by these and many other people's stories and appreciative that they shared them with us.  On our first year that we were here for 9/11 we went straight to the core of the matter, we went to ground zero.  There is a small museum near the site which has remnants of that day along with photos and videos.  It was really hard to go through seeing the items left behind, a child's teddy bear for example among many other personal belongings.  Not one person left there with dry eyes.  We left there and walked around a bit, I heard bagpipes and we decided to follow the sound, it led us to this tiny back street about a block from the site, there was a little Irish pub and it was absolutely FILLED with cops, firemen, etc from all over the country, they all were in uniform and were singing and dancing and really just there to show their support for their fellow officers.  It was awesome to see and be a part of, I will never forget that day.

Last year we went back downtown on 9/11 but this time it was to take part in something much bigger than ourselves.  We went down to sign a steel girder which will be used as part of the construction of the new towers.  It was a very powerful moment knowing that a piece of us will forever be in New York. 

My name on the girder.

We later walked around and looked at a memorial that had the names of all the victims on different flags, it was a sea of flags, it was very quiet there and felt really sad too. 

This is the memorial, the ball was a piece of art which was damaged in the crash, it was re-erected in battery park along with the eternal flame which is in memory of the firemen who lost their lives trying to save others.
This year I am not sure what we will do in memory of this day.  I like to be near the site, there is a lot of energy down there, people are united in New York and for this one day everything else is just forgotten, there are no race issues, no class separation, nothing, just a  bunch of Americans standing side by side, sharing in joy, pain and sadness but also sharing knowledge that we survived, as a nation we were able to pull together in a time of tragedy and uncertainty and help those in need and were happy to be able to do so, some of our brave rescuers lost their lives but it will never be in vain, they will never be forgotten, they are our heroes.  It is times like this that I am proud to call myself an American and to truly understand what that means.

Some day we will see the new towers in New York's skyline, they are not to replace what was originally there and erase what happened but they will be there as a confirmation that we were able to recover and move forward.  They will show the world that we cannot be held down for long.


No comments:

Post a Comment

My Blog List