The last time I stood on this spot, it was at a chain link fence, watching work continue at Ground Zero. It was unplanned, unexpected and painful.
The time before that, I was at the top of one of the towers having my picture taken.
For some reason, I thought my visit today would reconcile the two. But it hasn’t.
I stare into the footprints of those towers, and then back into the empty blue sky, and I can’t stop the images of that day. 16 years is not long enough.
And as I sit on one of the marble squares, weeping, I feel guilty. I didn’t lose anyone that day. None of the names I touch along the wall were family or friends.
I’m sitting in the shade of a young tree. In a park with fresh grass. The sound of people’s voices, low with respect, mix with the sounds of birds and traffic. And then sirens race by. The unmistakable sound of that day, echoing off skyscrapers. It’s a jab to my heart. Another unwelcome memory.
I’m sitting where people jumped to their death, to escape death. Where people fell from the sky or were crushed beneath rubble. These people who were just going about their day. Doing their jobs. When evil decided to slam into them and change everything. They were destroyed, the lives, the buildings, and a sense of security that I don’t think we will ever fully have again.
And I’m mourning all of it. I suppose on some level, all of those people were our friends and family. The whole world watched and wept.
I know this is supposed to be a place of recovery and healing. But as peaceful as it is, I’m not having it. This is still Ground Zero to me. I don’t use the word “hate” often. But I hate the evil that created this new reality. And every cell of my being wants to fight it.