Suffice it to say I feel so far removed from new york these days. I have never had the chance (or desire, really) to see what sprung up out of the giant hole where the world trade center once stood. I never went back there.
Here is what i do remember: it was an ordinary day, a sunny day at the beginning of fall, and i was getting ready to ride my bike into manhattan and go to work. Instead, i left my bike flat in the hallway and ran to the roof, moments before a collective, citywide scream as the second plane plowed into a building, knowing i was standing on my rooftop watching thousands of people die, then watching the towers fall and knowing something wasn’t right – the way they fell was far too similar to the way the Purina plant in Brooklyn fell during its planned implosion just a few months prior.
The flag-waving frenzy that ensued, the free air conditioners, vacuums and air purifiers FEMA provided while telling us that air was “safe to breath”, the “missing” posters of suburban husbands in their white button-downs and ties, the exhaustion and sadness on the faces of first responders and rescue teams – it was a lot. It was intense. It was hard for me to express what I was feeling. What i saw looked like something out of a Hollywood movie. It was hard to believe it was real. When does anyone ever witness a plane flying into the side of a huge skyscraper and exploding? It has taken me years to sort this out.
New Yorkers slowed down for a minute tho, and suddenly everyone was kind. For a minute, we were a people united in a horrible, shared experience and that New Yorker way of dealing with shit: we took to the streets, expressed ourselves, and got stuff done.
9/11/01 was the death of thousands, and the birth of my full, acknowledged disillusion in so much. It was the day “we the people” took on a whole new meaning, a day a new faith was born in me, a deeper compassion, and a righteous indignation and rage that has been growing and refining itself since then as i learn how to be a true, peaceful warrior and how to use these potent expressions of power in an effective way.
There are people in this world who suffer these terrors and tragedies daily. Like so many of the New Yorkers that died on this day 15 years ago, they are everyday people with wisdom, lives, loves, and families, at the mercy of governments and war machines (aka “terrorists”). They are, daily, watching their worlds crumble around them and feeling the kind of horror, pain, sorrow and loss we got that one massive glimpse of so many years ago.
Never forget. Power to the people. More compassion. More love.