Word and Image

Present – on that day

World Trade Center 2000, the millennium, we (Lisa and I) visited the Battery and went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We saw the names of our forebears who came to this country as immigrants.

2001, a crystal clear blue sky autumn day, 9/11 stands out so clearly. This is the view (my pictures) from my kitchen window. Yeah, I was close, not quite there, but close. The images are searing. When the first tower fell I was on the phone with Vicki. She told me, what my own eyes could not believe. The first tower had collapsed. From this perspective the towers appear next to each other and I thought the flames had jumped across from one building to the other. I could not fathom another plane hitting the other tower. I was fully confident in NYFD to put out a fire. I had seen them do it with my own eyes before. The towers were shrouded in smoke and steam from the dousing water and would reappear when the smoke clears. i waited in vain all day. The smoke never cleared and the buildings were gone – forever.

Twenty years later, I still have a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking of the profound loss. Another generation has grown up to see the pictures, and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We extracted a pound political pound of flesh for the heinous damage. Bin Laden died. Little has changed. The world is not a better place. It is not safer. Extremism, especially in politics is worse. We are less united. And, we are still dumb. The recent drone attack in retaliation for suicide bombing at the Afghan airport appears to have hit bogus terrorists. Pound the shit out of something to make us feel strong! History repeats. Will we ever learn? Lie to me, baby – again. I take no pride in saying I was “there.”

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