"A Hole in the Sky" New York City by american_tourister

New York City Travel Guide: 15,726 reviews and 31,518 photos

Here we come world, you started it.

NY is not for the squeamish, faint of heart or thin skinned. It is a place where the best and worst of America do not blend, they collide!

I took this photo in 1993 from a tour boat. There is a hole in the sky where the WTC is supposed to be. God Bless America. God Bless The United States Marines. Semper Fi.

There are two letters. It is a commentary between another VT member (cubsin4) and myself. Her letter is first, my reply starts in the next chapter and concludes in the third (VT restrictions on size). Our perspectives are unique. She is a person helping to rebuild the site. I am a civilian doing my part overseas.

Thanks for replying. My life is completely different than it would have been if 9/11 had never happened. It's difficult for me to explain why, but there are a number of factors that contributed to me being affected the way I was. I've lived in NYC for a year, have worked in the financial district for the past 10 months and in the WFC since the middle of June. It all feels pretty personal.

What they absolutely cannot do is leave the site empty. It is destroying the area. People are moving out of Battery Park City much, much faster
than they're moving in. The economy all over lower Manhattan is
suffering terribly, and the psychological impact of leaving the site an open wound can't even be calculated. It's very hard on all of us to be so near such a gaping wound. I don't think you can really understand what it's like to spend every day right by the site unless you have to deal with it. I've only been working across the street for 2 months, but

I'm telling you, it really takes a toll emotionally. The people who live
and work here are suffering terribly. They come into our store and keep talking about how glad they are to see we're back, and there is so much pain in their eyes. It just kills me to think of what was done to this
beautiful community.

The only thing worse than leaving the site open would be for them to build the plan they chose. It is hideously ugly, most of us hate it, and it would be an environmental nightmare. As soon as the wreckage at the Pentagon was cleared away, officials began building. Now that building looks no different from how it looked on September 10, 2001. They recently picked a simple, quiet memorial to the 184 people murdered there, and it looks like it's going to be beautiful.

From what I've heard from people who live nearby, the Phoenix Project (as the rebuilding of the Pentagon was called) was something that offered them hope, and knowing that their landmark has been fully restored is very comforting. How I wish the same thing had happened here! If from the beginning officials had determined to rebuild what was stolen, it would have been something people here could have rallied around. I've seen at least a dozen polls that show public support for rebuilding the towers as they were is by far stronger than support for any other plan, but right now it's all a mess. The rebuilding process should have been about healing, but it has only brought more pain for those of us who cared enough to get involved and attend the public hearings and events. I was at five hearings, and at every single one most of those who spoke wanted the old towers back.

I'm sorry if I'm talking too much about this. I'm feeling pretty frustrated right now. And I still deal with so much anger because of the attacks; I suspect I'll be dealing with it for a very long time, perhaps the rest of my life. I've just seen too much pain and heard too many sad stories. There are a lot of people I know who, had circumstances been even a little different, could have been among the victims, and I would never have met them. It really gets to me when I realize that some of my friends were almost lost to me before I even knew them; it makes me wonder how many potential friends I did lose.

Anyway, sorry again if I'm bothering you. Hope your week's off to a good start.

Rachel

My response to Rachel

In everyone's life comes a seminal moment, a watershed of emotion that marks a point to which they compare every other moment of their lives. For most of us it is the NYC attack on 9-11.

I was in San Jose, CA. I had arrived at one of our branch offices at 05:30 to teach a class on fall protection to a group of construction workers. Fall
Protection is a big issue in our business as it is the #1 killer of construction workers. I am a fervent believer in the value of protective systems. I finished my first session at 07:30 and was walking through the offices. One of my friends came up to me and told me what had happened. It was now 10:30 EST. I did not believe him as he is a great practical joker. He insisted and I could see that by the look in his eyes, he was not joking.

I went into the conference room and saw all the management team surrounding the TV, glued to replay after replay after replay and a bunch of talking heads just making noise because in fact they knew no more than we did. I hung at the back and then went back out to the warehouse where the first group I had taught were gearing up to go to job sites to work and where my next group was gathering.

These men are almost all from Mexico. They are all legal immigrants and are some of the best workers and the best people I have ever been fortunate enough to be associated with.

These men too had heard what had happened. One was sitting in a corner and quietly crying. All were stunned. One of the guys I have known for a while was in this group. He is Mexican by birth, American by choice. He served in our Army
to get his citizenship. He came here illegally as a teenager and is now a
citizen. He was so angry. He said,"How dare they do this to us," To us. TO US. At this moment he was not Mexican-American. He was simply an American. We were all
attacked. We are all at risk. We have been from that moment, one people again.

I don't think that the attackers or their supporters realize what they did. We are repeating our history. In prior times of crisis the American people have galvanized into a solid group determined to right a wrong. They thought we had become weak and selfish, materialistic and hedonistic. So did the Japanese and
the Germans in 1941.

I am reminded of great oratory and great speeches. I think about the Gettysburg Adress, I think about "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. What I really think about is an essay I read in college in my American History class. I don't remember the author but I clearly remember his words. It goes something like this; Before the Civil War the United States was refered to as'"The United States are..... We now say, the United States is..."

The rest of my reply - an essay if you wish

Simple semantics that say
what is true. We are united, we are one. In these times we are not a collective, we are a nation. They did not change us. They reminded us of who we really are.

I am from the most ethnically diverse city in the USA but I don't see color, religion, area, or birthplace differences anymore. I see us and I see them. That
may sound simplistic, and to some fatalistic but to me, and to all of us over here where we are at the tip of the sword, it is true.

I don't carry a weapon but I teach and lead. I don't drive a tractor or plow a field but I help minds grow. Many of my students are Bosnian Muslims. Some of them have been working for us for over 7 years now and know who we are. They
understand that they have more in common with us than with those who would destroy us. They have seen the good side of America and they are the best Ambassadors that we could possibly hope for. We are sending hundreds of them to Iraq. They will be working as Front Line Managers with the common Iraqis. They are Muslims who have benefitted from the good and the compassion of America and they will spread that word. They know that we don't hate Muslims and that we are tolerant and respectful of their religion.

The men in that warehouse in San Jose on that morning were just as angry as me but were not looking to vent. They were looking for leadership. They wanted some one
to tell them what to do. I gathered them all around and told them that we were going to cancel all remaining classes for the day as the Bay Area may suffer attacks also. I told them to go home and be with their families, hold them close
and remember how fragile life is. I made this call fully expecting to be
chastised for it by more senior management. I was not. They supported my call 100%.

This moment made me realize who we are, what we are, why we are here. America is a place of refuge, a place where a man or a woman can become something more. It is a place where you can live your dreams and can aspire to be a part rather than an interloper. You can have any home life you want to have, free of persecution. This is admired by some, loathed and feared by others. There are some in the world who are so narrow minded and so sure of their own set of self made rules that they would force it on others.

These men in San Jose came here willingly and have become part of our nation, part of our landscape and truly a part of our family. We have to be strong, we have to show the way. They came here to raise families, be successful, make a
place for themselves. They came for the same reasons my ancestors did. They came to live the American Dream.

Ours is not an easy task. We must combine wrathful fury with a velvet glove. We MUST punish those who would seek to strip us from our freedoms and our values but simultaneously we must help to rebuild shattered nations, shattered
economies, and shattered dreams. Our immediate weapon and tool in this is the US military. Like it or not, they are kicking ass and taking names.

Our tool for the future must be our common senses of decency and compassion. We need a Marshall Plan for these impoverished places that breed this hatred. I don't blame the ignorant but I do blame the educated.

Ours is not an easy path. There will be more death and more destruction. There will be sleepless nights and terrible days. Cost wise our children will help pay the bill but it is worth it. I have a two year old son who I cherish. I want this world to be a safe haven for him. I want him to grow up the way I did. I want him to live in a world with no fear, no hate.

He is the reason I am here and he is the reason I am going to Iraq. Where the Army goes, I follow. It is my part. It is my pay back to America for making me who I am.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:No place else is like it
  • Cons:It is fast, fast, fast.
  • In a nutshell:The place where our nation found it's identity
  • Last visit to New York City: Dec 2001
  • Intro Updated Sep 18, 2003
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Reviews (6)

Comments (15)

  • johal's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2004 at 11:03 AM

    thank you, its hard to imagen this really happened and its already been so long...its helps for us who have not seen to remember not to take life for granted

  • Yubert's Profile Photo
    Jun 24, 2004 at 6:16 AM

    Thank You!

  • skye820's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2004 at 7:37 PM

    Thank You.

  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2004 at 4:19 PM

    Great intro to New York City.

  • cjg1's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2003 at 7:54 AM

    Thank you.

  • vesna04's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2003 at 7:32 AM

    I spent I week i NYC and I missed a lot to see and do. To big for one week:)

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2003 at 5:48 AM

    Well said. We were in Warsaw, Poland the day the towers were hit. Talk about rebuilding! Such coincidance. Do you know the history of Warsaw's Old Town? Good lessons and relavant to your conversation.

  • MissyWQ's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2003 at 10:04 AM

    NYC has such a great history. Too bad some unintelligent misguided creeps hit the WTC.

  • terible22's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2002 at 10:43 AM

    A city so nice they named it Twice,New York,New York!Great pa

  • ABL1958's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2002 at 6:18 AM

    Thanks for the thoughts and the images......Happy Birthday

american_tourister

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