By Brian | September 11, 2009 | Share on Facebook
It’s time for a very special edition of New York City Sights which, of course, coincides with my annual tradition of posting some thoughts about the anniversary of September 11, 2001 (others can be found here: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
We start with a sight that few people see on television. It’s one of the last beams that was removed from the World Trade Center site (“Ground Zero”) when the massive clean-up effort ended in early November, 2001. These two beams, which the attacks left in the shape of a cross, were ceremoniously removed from the pit by the rescue workers and mounted outside the city courthouse a few blocks away.
Next, a view of downtown Manhattan, as it looks today:
Now that they’ve been gone for eight years, I think we forget just how massive and skyline-defining those towers were. Here’s a feeble attempt to draw them into the above picture (this isn’t accurate in any real sense, although I did look at about a dozen pictures taken from the Hudson river to approximate size and position, so it’s pretty close):
And now, if you’ll permit me, a few thoughts:
This is the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks under a new President. Barack Obama is nothing if not eloquent, and I’m sure his words will be heartfelt and bring comfort to those who need it. Still, it is just now occurring to me for the first time that the President of the United States addressed a joint session of Congress on September 9, 2009 and didn’t as much as mention the upcoming anniversary. I’m not saying that it’s a good thing or a bad thing, mind you, just noting how different it is. It’s inconceivable that George W. Bush would give a speech in that chamber on September 9th of any year without at least noting the upcoming anniversary.
Again, without casting any aspersions on Barack Obama whatsoever, I get the feeling that no president will ever take 9/11/01 as personally as George W. Bush did. And this gives me pause, because quite frankly, it’s just as personal to me this year as it was last year. The local TV stations will cover the reading of the names as they always do, but I note on the TV listings that the Today show’s planned programming is “Today’s Pets, real estate, personally tailored diets, and ambush makeovers.”
The nation is truly moving on. Re-reading some of my older posts, I realize that I am moving on as well. It’s the signs that point it out so explicitly that bother me, I think. If you’re reading this, I hope that you are moving on as well, and that my words haven’t interrupted that process. But as we move on, I think it’s healthy to take a moment, especially today, and look back.
God Bless America.