The last time I’d been to the Twin Towers was in 1999. I’d been there a bunch of times and it was a place of pleasant memories.
The Observatory and roof were truly awesome in the real sense of the word: I actually preferred it to the Empire State Building.
Post-9/11, I’d not really wanted ever to go back. I avoided the area in the years since 2001. But – with our visiting British friends here – finally I felt it was time.
Early yesterday while staying in Lower Manhattan, we ventured over to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
My first reaction was I thought it looked like somewhere else; but that is hardly surprising. The memorial itself is wonderful. By late morning tour groups began to turn up with guides waving pennants, and that put me off a bit. But that’s the world as it is, and most visitors seemed to be respectful.
A son of people who lived on my parents’ Long Island street was FDNY and died that day.
How strange it seemed – nearly 17 years after, I felt “late.”
No one around me seemed unduly troubled, but standing at the soon to be completed rebuilt St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – which had also been destroyed when the South Tower collapsed – looking down at the site for the first time, alone, away from everyone, for a few moments I couldn’t help myself: I burst into tears.
We’re back in the Catskills this morning. What a contrast compared to 24 hours ago. Thus New York – all of it.