9-11, The 7th anniversary

Everyone who was alive when planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Centre knows where they were at the time. Seven years later, the legacy of that attack is still with us, in our actions, in our racism towards anyone who looks vaguely Middle Eastern, in our fear of flying, in our reactions to media, in our politics. Single for a Reason has a brilliant post without words today, commemorating 9-11. Click here to see Pat’s page.

Here are some photos of the World Trade Center (American spelling on purpose, anglophiles!) that I took just before Christmas 2006.

On the approach, there’s already quite a crowd, including the determined conspiracy theorists.

They must be convinced of their theories to brave the cold December day, standing for hours being booed by the patriots. Still, freedom includes self-expression, no? The scariest part is wondering if these theorists are right. It would make things so, so much worse if they are.

Scenes of that terrible day hold people in place as they stare and stare, silent, at the images in the makeshift photo gallery or reading the timeline, bit by bit.

Many folk come to this part of Manhattan for Century 21’s famous bargains. Some don’t realise they’ll be whammed with a giant graveyard cum building site across the way. Most stop and visit the WTC memorial before leaving to shop. After all, life must go on, but we should also remember.

Who could imagine the horror of completing a day’s work here?

The dead, the surviving, the blamed, the guilty, the innocent, the legends, the insidious legacy that seems nowhere near an end. I feel so bad for the good people in this world whose lives and identities have been tainted by this atrocious event, purely because they follow a particular religion or look a certain way.

Time to leave. Looking out from under cover, Manhattan’s life continues.

And later, beneath a brilliant sunset, it was hard to believe that anything like 9-11 could have happened here, or that a friend’s entire New York team (make that office) at Cantor Fitzgerald was wiped out, or that another friend due for a meeting at the WTC ran uncharacteristically late, thus saving his life, or that a petite friend who hates walking or taking the subway trudged the miles home in high, high heels, but didn’t feel her feet because she was in shock, or that a young man I once met had endured the pain of that final phone call from a WTC office from his beautiful wife, his high school sweetheart, and had to come to London to escape the thousands of daily reminders of that day, or that the emergency services would lose so many selfless and brave individuals as they tried so valiantly to save others. No one could possibly believe it. Not when Manhattan’s beauty remains. It’s all a bad, bad dream. But then we wake up…

and we’re still here. We do not give in and we do not give up. We go on.

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