Like a lot of us, I watched CBS’ 9/11 last night. For reasons that were part morbid curiosity, part dealing with the grief of losing a friend, and part historical interest, I subjected myself to the entire two hours. I think that part of me is still struggling with the scope and breadth of the tragedy, wondering how something like that could have happened. The sheer audacity of the attacks and the unimaginable scale of the buildings and their collapse are still difficult to comprehend. How can one truly wrap one’s head around two 110-story buildings simply collapsing into dust, never mind the unimaginable loss of life?
On a flight from New York to Athens in 1984, my plane flew over Manhattan. We passed directly over the World Trade Center. From the air, the size of the towers in relation to the buildings around it was breathtaking. It is difficult to fully grasp just how incomprehensibly massive the two towers were. They were by no means particularly attractive buildings, but they weren’t about physical beauty. Their size and scale made a statement about New York and the way New Yorkers view their city. The loss of the towers will do nothing to change the way New Yorkers view the center of their universe.
With the iconic towers removed from the cityscape, New Yorkers will have to find something else to symbolize the outsized and cosmopolitan nature of the city. It will never be the same, but the city will bounce back. Is there another option?
I know I am still struggling with all this. I know a lot of people I know are struggling too. But, apparently the rest of the country has moved on. CBS's ratings last night had something like 50% of New Yorkers tuned in (!) but much less so in the rest of the country. That is tough to understand. It's one thing when a politician's infidelities, or an actor's sexuality fades from public view, but September 11th was a major moment in American history. Thousands died, there was billions of dollars in damade, and the world has changed in ways it's impossible to comprehend today. Yet, people don't seem to care. Is it because they don't have to see a gaping hole in their city's landscape? Don't still see hear stories about people they hadn't known had died that day? I don't know. How long will it be before we forget what this war on terror, and "inconveniant" security measures at the airport are all about?
by mg at March 11, 2002 10:57 PM
i'm really regretting not watching it. and no, i'm not over it.
by kd at March 12, 2002 1:12 AM