This photo was taken at Ground Zero of what remains of the World Trade Center. On September 14, three days after the planes crashed and burned the Twin Towers, it rained. By nightfall the rain ceased and dust settled in the city. It was time to go to the funeral.
I headed for East Village. St. Mark’s Place was bustling. People were in shock but in good spirits, a camaraderie that graciously emerges when tough times unite a group of people. I had Japanese noodles at a hole in a wall so crowded it felt like the end of the world. We all slurped our noodle soups like it was. After that I knew I was ready for my pilgrimage downtown.
I walked around the barricades to make my way closer to the ruins. Even in shattered pieces, the World Trade Center was impossibly huge. First responders worked round the clock. I took a good look and got out of their way. I bought an American flag off a vendor and tucked it into my bag as I walked away. The subway smelled of Lysol and burnt flesh. Firefighters off their shift slumped in their seats on the train. They stared dead ahead of them in between nods at people who thanked them for their service.
I had a ticket for Rocky Horror Picture Show on Broadway in my pocket, purchased weeks prior. The show was going on that night and I wasn’t about to miss it. Dick Cavett was the Narrator. He talked about life and death and life going on. Each one of us with beating hearts do our part to keep life going.
Back then, New Yorkers were in it together, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. How did that same event that united a city become the catalyst to a war with no end in sight?