Sunday, September 11, 2011

ten years later

I was going to go to Brooklyn today but have changed my mind for a number of reasons. Instead, I will recount the latter part of my day yesterday. Here is another view from Governor's Island. You could see Ellis Island, too - but it is so far right in the picture that it doesn't show up very well.

This fort was finished in 1813 and well-used during the 19th c.

Between the tip of Manhattan and the World Trade Center site, Battery Park was filled with thousands of flags, each filled with names and names and names.
 It was a beautiful, strangely peaceful and silent memorial that seemed to go on forever.  One life= one flag.  So moving...
It was ok to touch the flags and read the names - they were all accessible to the public.
At the other end of the park was this sculpture, which was damaged in the disaster.

On the sidewalk in front of the flowers was a box of buttons with black ribbons that said "we remember" and a sign saying "take one."  I didn't need to: I lived through it. Many of us who saw the buildings fall and burn or lost people we knew from the towns we lived in, do not need to read the newspaper articles, watch the tv specials, or go to the memorial services. We do not need reminders because we are reminded every time we take the PATH train from NJ to the WTC, or look at the skyline and see empty space, or walk in lower Manhattan without an anchor to guide us.

But the skyline is changing, as is the footprint.  The Freedom Tower is rising and while I hope it will not be too much taller, it is more beautiful architecturally than the original towers were -- and it is visible from everywhere.

Late afternoon (and I didn't take pictures) the sidewalks and streets filled little by little with GUYS. Men in firefighters' uniforms, in t-shirts and jeans, sailors' uniforms, and various other modes of dress. Many were drinking beer, others were not.  Some stood silently, others were more lively.  It was an unofficial, spontaneous gathering that gained momentum through the early evening. It was pretty clear that they were going to stay there all night in vigil.  It was, in essence, a wake. This is what they saw as the sky darkened and the lights came on. It was beautiful.
                                                             September 11, 2011


Gerrie said...

Thank you for sharing this, Rayna!!

Kay Koeper Sorensen said...

this heartfelt post brought tears to myneyes as I too remember.

Sherryl said...

I woke up this morning to the sound of my wind chimes which sound like cathedral bells. I don't usually cry when I hear them but this morning I did. I cry when I cross the GW bridge and see the huge gap in the skyline. I cry when I have to take the PATH. I will never forget.
Thank you for the posts from the past 2 days.

Susan Ettl said...

A beautiful and heartfelt post. Thanks, Susan

Terry said...

Very beautiful.

Connie Rose said...

Thanks so much, Rayna!

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