I had the pleasure to get away and take a weekend trip to Oklahoma City.
Many people would wonder why it was a pleasure.
Technically it was a business trip.
The sidewalks rolled up very early on a Saturday night,
I thought I might be in the twilight zone.
What this trip removed me from was the weekend media events which memorialized an event, a day. I was asked why I didn’t want to even watch or listen to any broadcast.
I wasn’t a victim, but I was a witness to a tremendous loss that ran so psychically deep in the heart of New York City. I didn’t actually see the towers turn to rubble. But I watched hundreds of dust covered zombies with eyes full of disbelieve and shock searching for a way home. They had walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and up Flatbush Ave trying to get a subway or bus to take them home. Asking everyone they passed how do I get home I need see my child, I need to let them know I am OK. All the police could do was tell them to keep moving they could get transportation further up the hill, no subways are running, keep moving. All they wanted was to go where they felt safe. home.
I witnessed the sunset, from where I have seen the sunset since 1996, DUMBO Brooklyn right under the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Within the thick dust and smoke I saw the reality of the hole, the vacuum and loss. But I was at a safe distance all I could see from that viewpoint was a loss of a facet of the crystal that is the New York Skyline.
It was not until a week or so later, I had to go into the city, get in a subway and go under the river and through the tunnels and come to the surface St Vincent’s Hospital.
Flyers were plastered everywhere looking for missing people, many of whom never came home. They were on every place they could be pasted, stapled or taped.
I had to fight back the overwhelming desire to race back down into the tunnel.
To go where I felt safe. home.
Months later I found myself downtown, I needed something for my computer, and the place to go was right there, in the shadow that wasn’t there. All that was there was a big hole in the sky, and in the ground if I dared to go closer. Again an overwhelming desire to race back to the tunnel. To go where I felt safe. home.
I will say that many and much was lost, a part of the heart and soul of the city.
New York is a living entity, a some of the whole. Life goes on.
For a while people lived on a more personal level.
Connecting with people and friends to comfort.
To go where they felt safe. home.
Then there was the miracle the following year. At THE memorial for 9/11 while the service was happening there was a stirring of dust and what ever else is on the ground swirled and rose above the crowd attending. From monitors and television screens it was as if the souls were being released and releasing the living to go, be free live.
So that is why I spent a few moments of silence in Oklahoma City, at a different memorial, to honor life.