[This is me, from 09/10/2006. –GSS]
Cathy and I watched The Path to 9/11 on television tonight. I had forgotten that we were in Metro New York for the Turn of the Millennium. My father lives in Connecticut, and we went there that year for New Year’s Day. The photo you see is my son crawling all over a bronze statue of a stock broker in Liberty Park, directly across from what was then the Merrill Lynch Building — on December 30, 1999. I lived in Manhattan for ten years, from 1976 to 1986. For quite a few of those years, I worked just across from Liberty Park, in the Equitable Building at 120 Broadway. At the other end of that little brick park was the southeast entrance to the World Trade Center complex. I worked insane hours in those days, and, very often, when I got out of work, I would go sit at this tiny circular plaza plopped down between the Twin Towers. Not quite pre-dawn, still full dark, but completely deserted — and to be completely alone in New York City is an accomplishment. I would throw my head back and look up at the towers, the fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony running note-perfect through my head.
Everything I am describing was either destroyed or heavily damaged on September 11, 2001. Along with the lives of thousand of innocents. Along with the comfort and serenity of their families. Along with the peace of the entire world.
I don’t believe in any heaven except for this earth, this life — the heaven we make every day by pursuing the highest and best within us. The World Trade Center had its faults. I can detail every one. But it was a piece of the sublime, a proud testament to how high, how good our highest and best can be. I don’t believe in heaven, but when I think of what was done that day, I pray there is an everlasting torment for the men who did it…
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