Sept. 11 - 9 Years On / 3 Blocks Away


9 years later, and September 11th arrives bright, sunny and mild - blue sky identical to the one of the morning when the world changed forever.

The Twin Towers were the view from my window, 3 blocks away. They glittered and shimmered at night, but stood hard and cold in daylight. The Towers were landmarks, but they were - above all - cold, highly functional and very much based upon miscalculation and greed.

As to memories more gentle : Friends once gave me the full run of the 110th Floor of one of the Towers at dawn. The view - for miles and miles in every direction - was magnificent. Windows On The World - at the top of the Towers - will always be treasured as one of the truly great world-class restaurants ever to have graced life in New York.

On that morning in 2001, I woke up to the most awful, unearthly sound I have ever heard. The first of the pair of jets flew right next to our place and blasted into one of the Towers. My friend woke up in his room, and we watched and listened in stunned disbelief as bedlam broke loose. Flames and smoke began to engulf the Tower in an instant.

As my friend was walking over to the car, he was greeted by the sight of the second of the 2 jets flying right over our neighbourhood. By the time he got to where he'd parked, he saw the first Tower tumble and then totally collapse.

I was heading over to meet him, and - walking in air that was like the inside of a vacuum cleaner bag - had hair with streaks of grey from all the dust by the time we got together.

When we stepped out of the car at 10:30 - we've laughed ever since about having waited until the parking was legal - we witnessed the most impossible sight of our lives : the collapse of the second Tower.

After a brief stop at a centre where everyone was in a panic - and being shoved onto boats to New Jersey - we simply strolled back home.

By nightfall, trucks a city block long were starting to haul out huge shanks of twisted steel and masses of rubble.

You can transform even the most outrageous cataclysm into art and grace. We sat with the cat, and I read Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ozymandias", which begins : "I met a traveller from an antique land / Who said Two vast and trunkless legs of stone / Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, / Half sunk, a shattered visage lies ..."  Shelley ends his masterpiece with : "And on the pedestal these words appear : /  "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings : / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair !"  /  Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch  far away"  The power and majesty of art to transcend space and time was never more meaningful and true.

No one was coming our going from anywhere near the area of the devastation, but I left our place at 6:30 the next morning - a perfect day, in counterpoint to the calamity - making my up to Chelsea and back. Dust, rubble and all levels of people in uniform were everywhere to be seen.

We saw that day, Wednesday, through. On Thursday - at our Resident Manager's request - I locked our building behind me. We were the last people to leave, not knowing if we'd ever come back again.

We were gone for 9 days. There are people nearby who waited over 4 years to get back to where they'd lived.

Our attorney - and dearest friend - came out of the WTC PATH Station on the morning of the 11th, seeing people jump from the Towers - their sole alternative to being consumed by flames.

The stories - and images - are infinite, but life has gone on.

This is the first year where signs of  "Remember / Rebuild / Renew"  - the theme of the period immediately after the disaster - can be seen at the site and its surroundings. 

There is still much progress to be made - and, for many, tremendous reconciliation of heart and mind yet to be attained.

For those of us committed to honouring life and its lessons, we use the memories as a means to cherish the gift of every second.









 "I support the Creative Vision of Flower Power Creative in World Artists For Peace and...

Pattie Boyd



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