Tuesday, September 11, 2018


This is a portion of a sidewalk "of remembrance" found
in the greater Puget Sound.
It is yet another September 11th anniversary. I have not always marked the occasion on the blog, but if you'd like to read the few times I have, feel free to do so.

I have previously written it took a month for subway service to resume into lower Manhattan after the attack. Just a few days ago, Cortlandt St. subway stop finally reopened. Renamed WTC-Cortlandt, it is a little jarring to see rubble photos of it from that day. What the photos bring back most vividly for me was, once we were finally able to travel by subway into the downtown area, how it all smelled. Just like now with all the wildfire smoke in the air here in the western United States, for the months after the attack in New York the acrid smell actually hit the back of one's throat almost immediately once above-ground. Of course it added another lingering layer of unease, since it was unclear what exactly was being released into the air from the smoldering attack site.
A pub in lower Manhattan,
snapped in autumn, 2001,
after the attack.

I've written this before - that day seems like a lifetime ago in some alternate, parallel reality. I thank the luck of graduate school scheduling every day, because that Tuesday found me in class and not at my internship office in the third WTC tower to fall that day. I view the signs of life in the photos I snapped post-attack in lower Manhattan with amazement and gratitude. There was a certain sense of comfort derived from the mundane. Shopkeepers engaged with the normal tasks of business somehow felt like a warm blanket. Having an internship, as well as studies and all the normal expectations of graduate school, kept me grounded. While some of my fellow classmates actually left school (and at least one fled to Canada), what I also remember was, on the one hand, a sense of common purpose, and yet on the other hand, the inevitability of the war we would commence. 

There is no nice, tidy way to end this post. I've made my own personal peace, but as a country we remain in foreign battlefields as a direct result of the events of this day 17 years ago. We also, oddly enough, are more fractured as a society than at any point that I can actually remember. I pray we do not let fear win.

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