Remember the day, the thoughts, the things I did, the words I spoke, the phonecall with my girlfiriend, the road I traveled home, the disbelief, the shock, the absolute horror as the buildings collapsed, the angriness at CNN for not bringing any NEWs, but endlessly repeating what I already knew, yet, at the same time, the anxiousness, and fear, to find out, "what next"...
I've visited New York, a couple of times. Once before, once after. I've seen the skyline from the Empire State Building both when the Towers were still there and when they were but an outline on a bronze plaque.
The city is a vibrant place, truly with a magic all its own. It's a city where I saw the owner of a hot-dog stand get robbed, and the robber get chased down by a bystander on inline skates, to be handed over to the police a few minutes later.
It's also a city where the first thing that greets you in Central Park can be the police officer investigating the chalk outline of a body nearby, while the next thing you run into is a group of attractive twenty-somethings jogging on their morning workout as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
In a place, where everything goes faster, is closer, and has more impact, the event with such far-reaching and deep-rooted effect on our global society was, without a doubt, a pivotal moment in history.
I mourn for a world that died that day. And with a certain sadness I look at the world we got in its place. One where we have learned to distrust before we trust. Where the excuse of security and false sense of safety precedes the principles of liberty, privacy, respect and democracy. Where a country that prides itself on it's core value of freedom can have an Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and not even feel that they are measuring with a double standard.
But at the same time, it is the energy and spirit in New York, and its people, that show me that not all is lost and there is some hope yet in human nature. It's in their iconic firefighter-hero from that day that we see individual man at his/her best; performing a duty, at great personal risk, to help a perfect stranger, regardless of colour, or calling, to live another day.
New York also shows that things must, and will, move on. Regardless of politics, recession, presidents, governors, and mayors, The City "abhors a vacuum". And I look with admiration to the work being done at the Ground Zero site. Where a country and a people that I sometimes mock for their crassness and their 'industrial lack of subtlety', are constructing with respect, beauty, serenity, and yet with a typical American scale and New York sense of practicality, the new World Trade Center.
I look forward to the day of a next visit, when I can walk across the new World Trade Center and 'feel' the impact the place had on us and our world. To when I can ascend the Empire State building once more, and admire the new skyline. I'm sure the bronze plaque will also still be there.