What Have We Recovered?

Learning is about recovering.  We are flooded with information and we struggled to analyze the important bits and store them in memory. Then, when the most precious moment arrives, we recover those precocious stored bits to save us from ourselves.  On
the awful anniversary of 9/11, we now must begin to ask — “What have
we recovered?” — in the steaming, soulless pit that used to be the
World Trade Center.

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Cloverfield Rejects History

Cloverfield is a new monster movie set in New York City that —
intentionally or not, brings back, audibly and semiotically — the
horrors of 9/11.

Entertainment does not exist in a vacuum. 

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A Ground Zero Grave with No Headstone

Are you burned out on 9/11? If so, is that a tremendous moral crime for which there is no remedy? How can we — as a world of nations — have so quickly become so tired and weary of an event that smothered the end of any sense of freedom we have left a mere six years ago?
The bigger crime is an ongoing inexcusable wallowing mass of death and despair at “Ground Zero” that started as this:

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Building Invisible Buildings at Ground Zero

In my article, The Incongruity of Mourning and the 9/11 Memorial, we discussed how to create an appropriate memorial for the World Trade Center loss.
Last week we received updated news the Ground Zero World Trade Center site would be re-built using invisible buildings that blend into the sky, reflect the environment around them and form a transparent skyline while shouting to the world: “Please don’t hit us again! We’re here, but our buildings really aren’t!”

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The Frailty of Bones

Bones are hardy and can testify throughout antiquity to the state of the person who earned those bones in their body. However, the dreams and wishes of others embedded in those bones are frail and fleeting because memory is convenient and, as humans, we run from pain instead of searching out suffering.
With the recent discovery of 74 more bone fragments mixed with gravel that had been shoveled to the sides of the roof of the former Deutsche Bank building in the ongoing open wound that is the World Trade Center disaster on 9/11, we are forced to reconcile the way we choose to memorialize people beyond bones and flesh. Deutsche Bank — the building below shrouded in black netting and holding the American flag — will be demolished floor-by-floor in June.

Deutsche Bank

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Drinking in the Bits of Them

On the fourth anniversary of 9/11 I would like to direct you to an article I wrote for GO INSIDE Magazine a year after the world fell called Celebrate the Dead, Mourn the Living:

….We all were breathing and smelling the fiery ashes of 2,800 corpses as their flesh filled the sky. It is a smell you will never forget. When you cannot escape the evidence of murder as it fills your lungs every day you turn inward to memorialize the reality in a positive manner so the horror of it all won’t eat you alive in the quiet times.

I decided inhaling the ashes of those who died was a way of reanimating each of them by giving them life within me. By drinking in the bits of them blowing in the wind, I became greater than myself, bound by their hopes and sobered by their dreams, and I was making all those strangers a part of me….

You can read the rest of the article here and then come back here to share your feelings and memories of 9/11 if you wish.

You can read all the GO INSIDE Magazine coverage of the first anniversary here where you will find some moving and memorable takes on the events of infamy from the rest of the staff.

Word Trade Center Killing Grounds

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.

Continue reading → Word Trade Center Killing Grounds