There are literally millions of Americans who were resident in the two cities attacked on September 11th 2001. I was one of those people. A resident of the DC metropolitan area I have visited the Pentagon several times since that terrible day. This year I paid my first visit to the World Trade Center site, “Ground Zero”. On the morning of September 11th I like so many other Americans watched the second plane strike the World Trade Center and the subsequent collapse of both towers live on T.V. taking thousands of human lives in the process.
My Ground Zero GALLERYis here.
One thing stood out immediately to me even before I arrived at the WTC site. As I walked around the city there is a tangible feel of purpose and community around New York’s Fire Stations. There were signs acknowledging NYFD members from individual station houses on active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. Outside there were small memorials to the Firefighters from any given station house who died on 9-11-2001. It seemed every station with an open bay door had a collection of passers by peering in. Many times the firemen were drawn to the door by people who just wanted to see them and interact in some small way. The NYFD is truly beloved by Americans, I witnessed it, and it is something special for a person of my generation to see an institution which is held in such a place of high regard. It is inspiring. Two weeks ago two more firefighters died in a blaze that broke out in the Deutsche Bank Building which was severely damaged during the collapse of Tower Two of the World Trade Center. The Deutsche Bank Building six years on, is still undergoing extensive reconstruction and New Yorkers see these most recent deaths as additions to the original toll from the Sept 11th 2001 attack.
Life goes on and businesses are thriving. New York City is the only large American city outside of the South and Western US that is experiencing population growth. This is a testament to the community and the local governments who persevere and even thrive in the face of what they have experienced and know will challenge them again one day. When I was a kid growing up in rural upstate NY the bumper sticker campaign of the states tourism commission was “I (heart) NY”. Today I can say I feel that “I love NY” in a way I never imagined back then.
There are a million photographs of this place taken before and after the day none of use will ever forget but these are mine. Its what I saw the day I walked the site six years after September 11th 2001. Every person who walks on this ground or sees the images has their own experience. On the day I visited I was uplifted.
©2011 by P. Guttenberg - all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce, alter, or use without prior permission.