I didn't start blogging until 2004. And at some point, I lost my email from the account I had then. So now I find myself spending my 9/11s reconstructing what I felt, and processing the events of that day and the echoes that it continues to have....
I took these images on the 5th anniversary, 9/11/06. Towers of light extended from the base to the heavens...or was it the reverse...invoking a ladder connecting earth and sky, or if you prefer, earth and heaven.
Everyone has stories from that day. Where you were that day. Where your friends and loved ones were that day. How you felt that day, on hearing the news. That day, how you ran or knew people who ran, or how you had to walk from wherever you were, not really sure where what you were going to find once you got where you were going.
We all know people who were almost there, who managed to escape, who didn't manage to escape. We remember the constant pain and uncertainty of those moments after the fall; after that day; after that week; after that month; that whole year that followed. After the flyers of the missing began to go up, as they fluttered there, on lampposts and buildings, papyrus-representations of a hope that everyone clung to even as they felt the-- .
[8:45am, moment of silence, first plane hits the north tower]
futility of hoping. In the months that followed that day, acceptance and grief took the place of hope, and the flyers began to thin out, only the most obstinately hopeful persisted, and these faces haunted our streets long after the funerals had concluded. To keep them up seemed misguided. To take them down...betrayal.
All the talk after of what response was required, how to retaliate, how to avenge, how to best serve the collective memory, how to balance their personal legacies and family grief with their roles as new American heroes by nature of tragic circumstance, of what to do--every discussion and action marked by emotion, gravity, nationalism, and emerging from the deep rift of a broken heart.
"Or the terrorists win."
The names echo, each different than the one read before, except the ones all too similar, identifying clusters of ethnicity among the vast portrait of New York diversity. Readers are doing their duty, there will be no applause for their performance. They may not even be pronouncing the names correctly. But they represent the fallen. They are students, citizens of the world, firefighters and police who remember fallen brothers in arms who were sometimes also brothers by blood. Among them are also the children who read the names of mothers or fathers they barely remember, grasping framed photos, and proclaiming love and the temporary nature of
[9:03, moment of silence, second plane strikes the south tower]
both life and death.
Citing poetry and Bible for lack of any other way to explain, civic leaders take to stages and broadcast words worldwide, while accompanying guitars gently weep, as if we'd lost the capacity and required surrogates. As voices crack in rendering syllables that used to be people, the observers who were largely spared the immediate proximity of pain, feel the isolation descend, and our hearts extend in sympathy.
[2pm today, will be in Union Square for the September Concert series, with Michelle Citrin. Join us there.]