I went downtown to Ground Zero this am, with colleagues from the Fund. While we had been "invited," we were not able to get through a police checkpoint due to an overwhelming response of people coming downtown. We accepted this, and stood to pay our respects.
We stood on the corner of Liberty and Church by Century 21 Department store and looked out over the site at the large American Flag flying on the World Financial Center.
I thought it ironic that at Ground Zero there is a monument to the 21st Century (the big Century 21 sign) right where Church and Liberty intersect, at the site of destruction over a clash of Freedoms and Religions. Thoughts of religious freedom versus oppressive regimes, basic freedoms and progress, summed up in a few street signs.
We tried to listen to the names being read over the PA system in honor of those who died. But for some reason, NYPD had not shut Church Street. Buses, cabs, and motorcycles filed past the site as the ceremony went on. This gave the whole scene a sense of unreality. Add to that the military helicopters flying over right during the moment of silence, sounding like airplanes looking for non-existant towers, and the whole scene was becoming unbearable.
I was looking over a site where, for years of my work life, there were huge structures and concorses of people. The wind blowing past the microphones made a rumbling sound every few minutes, and this just added to the unreality.
Finally, when they got around letter "D" it was too tough to take. I took a last look back to the past of Ground Zero, and walked toward Broadway, the Subway, and the day ahead.
My thoughts are with the families of the 3025 people who lost their lives on this day last year, and with the rest of the world. Peace today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.