I have been sitting here for three hours trying to find a way to begin this blog entry. Where should I start? How do I bring it all up again? There are some things you don’t ever want to recall. Forcible recall is treacherous.
Yesterday, for the first time since September 11, 2001, I returned to the killing grounds of the World Trade Center. I returned, not by choice, but by the happenstance of mass transit. In my GO INSIDE Magazine article, Celebrate the Dead, Mourn the Living I reflect on what the World Trade Center meant to me and to a city. I have been uninterested in returning to “Ground Zero” because I have no interest in gawking at the empty space where once stood giants.
Yesterday, I had a meeting in downtown Manhattan and I decided to jump on the PATH train and get off at the WTC stop. Now, “WTC” has always meant “World Trade Center” even when it was not operable for four years, but WTC has always been a destination, and not a place, in the minds of many who ride the PATH every day. The recently re-opened WTC stop on the PATH brought the end-of-the line back to Manhattan proper and, I while I was prepared to get off at the WTC stop, I was unprepared for what I was about to witness.
When the PATH train enters the World Trade Center stop it snakes through the heart of the World Trade Center killing grounds like some kind of Expressionistic Disney ride with a twist of terror. I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to enter an open grave but there I was, pushed in the midst of an international crime scene where the mastermind of the murders still runs loose on the land while we moulder alive in our bodies.
It was a sickening few minutes as I saw the remains of the World Trade Center splayed before me. The “bathtub” was chalky and barren. There was no life. There was only desolation and empty promises. As I withdrew from the WTC station and into the throngs of — Ground Zero — sightseers with cameras and video recorders, I could not help but wonder why nothing had yet been done to center this space and give it a new life force? I could not understand why Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki hadn’t worked together to finally seal this gaping, awful, blood-soaked, heaving, wound.
I agree with Donald Trump that the Twin Towers should be rebuilt. We don’t want a pale imitation of what was. We want our Towers back! So what if they never fill up with people again? Let them be landmarks to our national resolve. We want to feel that, even if we are knocked down — all the way down to the ground in ashes — we will resurrect and return to precisely what we used to be despite best efforts to remove us from the face of the earth. We want to fight again.
We want to honor the lives of the dead by living again. We want to drive away the forces of evil with the grit and goodness of what we are by bringing back the elegance and the power of what we used to be.