Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ground Zero

So...I'm re arranging my thoughts and am going to stop tipping in advance of what I'm going to write about because, well. I'd rather be able to change my mind. But I'm keeping the context of New York.

For the last few days and the next week I have been and will be working across the street from Ground Zero here.

I don't come down there much. I never really did before except when I had visitors or a temp job necessitated it. I've never really liked the area very much except for by the water where, if you have a view of the harbor it is quite beautiful. But since the attack I've been there twice. It's just too hard. Make that 4 times. I was down here a couple of times during the immediate aftermath. The stench of smoking steel, wood, asbestos and, well...human was intense, humbling and there are no words more for it.

This assignment has me here for the first time since 2002. I pass the construction site every day, twice a day. There are small monuments to our victimhood here which is just more incentive for me to never be down here.

There's been a lot of talk lately about the renaming of One WTC, from Freedom Tower to the current iteration. But as far as I'm concerned, what we call the building is totally fucking meaningless. That we are building again at all is the important part. The building is not something I'm crazy about, but I'm very pleased that the actual site of the old towers will be a park and waterfall markings of the tower footprints. I think its fitting and beautiful and frankly if any area needed some green space, its the Financial District.

Here's what gets me though. I do not need to see continual pictures of what happened. I don't need to see photographs on onlookers crying, holding eachother and otherwise appearing devastated and I suspect that those who traverse the streets and overpasses here, who have done for years before I have and for years afterwards don't have to either. We/They were there. We lived it, ate it and literally breathed it for a long time. We all here lost someone either 1st or 2nd person.

September 11, 2001 lives in us every day, ever hour and every minute we walk any street in this city, especially the streets below West 4th.

We do not need continual pick up truck reminders to 'never forget'. Fuck you asshole, I lived it, don't tell me what to remember and what not to remember. And we don't need to be scraping the wound open every morning we get off the Subway or PATH train to come to work here to see our faces plastered before us, tear-filled and horrified.

Some of us wake up in the middle of the night screaming still. Some of us still roll over in bed to the spot once occupied by a lover or spouse who was working that day, (be it in an office, a police car or a fire-suit) and try to caress them in the empty spot. Some of us see the flying bodies when we close our eyes for an afternoon nap.

Now admittedly that's not precisely my experience. My September 11th story is a somewhat twisted tale of a grandmother's death and being near one of the other sites and coming home to an immediate bomb scare. That's for another blog entry.

But the aftermath for me was clear. Though I lived on the opposite end of Manhattan then, the sky was still dark and the fear and anger and grief was still palpable. And I still live with friends whose losses were far deeper and more painful than my own.

We remember. For God's sake, We Remember.

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