Yahoo News invited New Yorkers who have lived and worked in Lower Manhattan to briefly reflect on how their neighborhood has changed since the 9/11 attacks. Here’s one story.
FIRST PERSON | Every year around this time, I look up around me and shake my head at the reality of things. In 2001, horrific events forever changed the New York City skyline, shook everyone’s resolve, snatched lives, instigated still-ongoing wars, and galvanized me and others to snuggle up to this giant uncertainty.
The reality of life here is multi-fold. It’s true that life goes on. In spite of the grief, fear and anger we felt and feel, those left had to muster the strength to continue forward.
In 2004, I worked in the building I now live in Battery Park City. The view out the 21st floor of my window is the ongoing headache that is the continued construction of the “Freedom Tower.” It’s frustrating because, after 12 years, any logical person would think we would have been so much further along.
The Goldman Sachs headquarters at 200 West St., just across the street from where One World Trade Center is rising, is a luxurious 43-story tower which went up in only a few years. Why then are things still being held up?
At the same time, it’s easy to understand why the tower has continually run into roadblocks. The World Trade Center site is a living memorial. No one is going to be 100 percent happy with the finished product. Maybe this is, in part, because the finished product means permanently closing the books on what was the World Trade Center.
It’s been 12 years, still so many can’t let go.
We all search for some greater meaning and comprehension in the horrific attacks: Are we “safer” now? Maybe. Are we still liable and likely to suffer another attack? Undoubtedly. Lumbering and slouching toward Bethlehem or otherwise.
In the poem “Lapis Lazuli,” William Butler Yeats foretold the 9/11 attacks before the time of Hitler. The full poem can be read here, but these lines are instructive.
“…For everyone knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out…
Until the town lie beaten flat.”
Perhaps the line “…All things fall and are built again…” were the words of a frustrated and angry old man near the end of his life. Or maybe he was eerily prescient. Right here, right now in the prime of my life, I still embrace the pending uncertainty.
Even as another may pound the table in absolute antagonistic rejection, still life goes on.