Friday, September 9, 2011

Remember to Love

Ribbons tied to the gates of St. Paul's Chapel
On the street the other day, I overheard two men bragging about how many Jeeps their respective families own.  One man’s family has four, the other, nine.  Nine Jeeps in the family?!  Variety is the spice of life, but Jeeps are clearly the starchy side for this meat and potatoes crowd.

With the 10th anniversary of September 11th around the corner, the sobering realities of that day’s events are ever-present around North America, and especially New York.  Here, people are finding ways to pay tribute to those who both survived and lost their lives.  TV shows are offering moments of silence, reporters are interviewing those who made it out of the wreckage, drug stores are offering free American flags and churches are giving people "Remember to Love" ribbons so they can write messages and tie them to the surrounding wrought iron gates.  So, how does this fit in with the guys talking about the Jeeps?  I’ll get back to that eventually.

A decade ago, I couldn’t ever have imagined I would be living in New York City, let alone mere blocks away from the World Trade Centre site and watching these things go on around me.  It’s difficult for me to believe it has been 10 years: in many ways it seems like yesterday and in other ways I can hardly remember a world without the date “September 11” being associated with the attacks.  I remember the morning it happened, watching, in shock, as the Trade Centers came crumbling to the ground and as I walk the streets that would have been covered in debris, I can only imagine the chaos that would have been running rampant throughout lower Manhattan.  Even today, you can tell the events of 9/11 are within those New Yorkers who lived through it – the feeling is palpable and I don’t think that will ever go away.  Even for me, I won’t ever forget being outside when airspace over Calgary re-opened and a plane flew overhead.  I stopped on the street and looked into the dark sky, thinking that things wouldn’t ever be the same again.  Our world was forever changed, New York more than anywhere else.

10 years ago, I was starting my first year of college, I had just met the man I would later marry and I was embarking on a great new adventure.  By the time I graduated, the events of 9/11 were in my text books as a piece of modern day history and these days, watching the rebuilding of the site has become part of my daily life. 

Now, with the 10 year anniversary on the horizon, threats of another attack have surfaced.  Checkpoints have been set up and those riding the subway are being spot searched.  I’m thankful for the vigilance of the NYPD because, well, this is what living modern day history looks like in New York City.  If Michael Bloomberg can ride the Subway, so can I; if the average person can talk about how many members of their family own Jeeps, I will listen and be grateful for the lightness of the conversation; and if New Yorkers can carry positive spirit, strength and resilience with them, I can, too. 

In a world where variety is the spice of life, I’ll take meat and potatoes this weekend. 

One of the many police checkpoints that has been set up in Manhattan

A cherry-picker style police tower overlooking the Trade Center site

Construction in the reflection of a nearby building

10 years later, the rebuilding continues

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