Twenty Years Later

The sky is as clear, and the air is as crisp as it was twenty years ago today. I am sitting in our kitchen looking out at the sky, hearing the roar of the cars coming up and down the west side highway. When I stepped outside this morning to walk Ollie, I turned left at the highway where we have a direction sightline to where the Twin Towers once stood.

I have been reading countless articles this week and this morning. The ones lost, the children who never knew their parents, the families left with a gaping hole that lost a family member, and the countless brave firemen, firewomen, and police officers who were left with life-changing illnesses from the rubble, smoke, and ash.

I remember that day as if was yesterday. The countless photos taped up everywhere downtown looking for lost relatives that would never be found. The city stood still for weeks particularly downtown.

The biggest question that looms is around the decisions our Government made that day. I disagreed with their response and questioned the authenticity of their decisions. Today, we are witnessing the downfall of those mistakes, money, and lives destroyed in Afghanistan. Once again, thinking we could foist our views and ideals on other countries. It never works, it has never worked, and it has left our country divided, angry, and disgusted.

I remember walking up 6th Avenue with Fred and our children. The city felt apocalyptic. People were crying, and people were in shock, people were covered in ash. I felt like I was in a Stephen Spielberg film. It was as if the world had stopped. The question that Josh kept asking is why. Why would someone do this? How do you tell a 5-year-old kid that we live in a very complicated world, that there are people who hate us and our society, that we must get up tomorrow and not let this get the best of us? We will be ok.

The world has changed so much in twenty years. The pandemic has wreaked havoc in countless ways, but it is the anger, the divide, the polarization, and the politicization of everything that is sitting with me today. How do we acknowledge 9/11 today without thinking about the last twenty years and the next twenty to come with the hope that we are all better off and, most importantly, that we can agree to disagree and respect each other at the same time?

Nobody feels as safe anymore and in the back of my mind I do wonder, when will something like this happen again?