Picture from http://www.planetware.com/picture/new-york-city-new-york-statue-of-liberty-us-nyc005.htm
I’ve blogged on this subject before here and here. In fact I guess this is sort of an annual thing. Anyway, my readers won’t be surprised by what I have to say today regarding everything involving tomorrow’s anniversary.
What will shock my readers is that I’ve actually made a blog entry for the first time in four months. More on that another time.
As I’ve said before. I live here in New York City. I’ve lived here just about my entire life. I lived here before the Twin Towers were visible and lived with them as they dominated the city land and sky-scape.
Nine years later it is still strange to me to look out and not see them from various spots in the city. From West 4th Street and 6th Avenue, to the Smith and 9th street stop on the G and F train in Brooklyn, from the Staten Island Ferry to the Ditmars Blvd stop on the N train in Queens. Nine years later there is still something not there that ought to be there.
I remember my last visit to the Observation Deck at the World Trade Center with my then 10 year old daughter as we looked out at the Liberty Science Museum, Long Island, Upstate New York and of course Manhattan Island.
For those of us that live here, we are constantly reminded. The skyline itself is an empty echo of the thousands of lives contained in those steel marvels of engineering. The many more thousands of lives left behind in loss and pain.
As I’ve pointed out, I somehow escaped personal heartache on that day. No one I directly know was amongst the murdered. But many I do know have lost lovers, friends, husbands, fathers and children. Every moment I talk to them on the phone, or see them on Facebook or have a cup of coffee I am reminded. Every waking day, they are reminded.
My heartache is for the heartache of those I care about and of course for the scar on the city for which I have a love/hate relationship and with which an indelible part of my soul will always belong.
It’s also no secret that aesthetically, I hated those buildings. While marvels of engineering they seemed out of place at the time. And I still feel that way about them then.
Like them or not, they were unforgettable, powerful and a kind of gateway to the city. A gateway this city no longer has.
The Statue of Liberty no longer stands in the shadow of that gate. A gate that increasingly seems to remain closed to what America is. There was a kind of sense of the Statue of Liberty showing her light to the harbor as she stood at the feet of the Gate that was the Twin Towers. A Gate now closed.
Liberty still shines a light onto the harbor, her words of welcome still inscribed. But God forbid you want to build a community center aimed at healing that gaping wound. God Forbid you make a place that yes, is primarily a Muslim Cultural Center but that also will house places of prayer for every religious practice available. God Forbid that an act can be made to reach out, to bridge the divide.
Oh you’re welcome here, but only up to a point.
September 11th must be a day of reflection, prayer and thoughtfulness. However it is you observe for yourself and ponder the nature of humanity’s penchant for cruelty and violence to each other and what we can do to grow from it, to be greater than it. To be better than we have been.
No, instead we focus on whackjobs burning books of worship, we throw parties to make money and then retroactively decide to donate the proceeds somewhere and claim that the party date was a coincidence. We claim to be thinking of the families of the fallen when we display our astounding ignorance of every conceivable fact and meaning. We exploit and wring our hands, but God forbid we actually solve the issue and learn to live WITH each other.
Clearly I stand in support of the Cultural Center known as Park 51. But I will not be joining the demonstrations tomorrow. I do not believe that September 11th should be marching or demonstrating for anything. ANYthing.
Anything else dishonors the dead and dishonors the families of the dead, whether at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon or that open field in Shanksville.
We need reflection. We need to think. We need to pray and send light. We need to volunteer. We need to really help.
As always I say we don't need to be told to "Never Forget". That's a self aggrandizing phrase promoted by people who are trying to be part of something that frankly they.just.aren't.
What happened was yes, a national tragedy. But the wounds are felt HERE. Not in Wasilla, not in Florida....HERE.
Any idiot will tell you that if you keep scratching a wound it will get infected. We need to stop scratching at the wound.