In Response To: Tragedy ()
(One New Yorker's perspective on the World Trade Center tragedy, with apologies in advance for the length of this posting.)
When one watches the TV reports about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, you are told that approximately 5,422 people died in this tragedy. Your mind is probably numb because you just can't picture how many people that might be. Your mind can clearly imagine 5 people, or perhaps 10, but can you really picture an entire concert hall of people being killed? It's unthinkable.
For those of us here in NY who work near the 69th Regimental Armory where victims' family members came last week to bring DNA samples and dental records, the tragedy is all too real. Each of the victims is real; they have faces. Their faces smile back at us from literally thousands of 8 ½" x 11" missing persons posters that wallpaper every building, every telephone booth and every utility pole on Lexington Avenue from 24th Street to 28th Street, and every side street in between.
The posters begin at ground level, and extend to eight or ten feet high. The photos of victims are their wedding pictures, high school and college graduation pictures, family pictures, engagement pictures, prom pictures. There are photos of police, fire and rescue personnel. As near as I can count, there are 24 streets of posters placed wall-to-wall, with not an inch of space between them. Almost none are duplicates.
New Yorkers have come daily to place flowers and candles on the sidewalks below the posters. Visitors have left images of Buddha, Jesus, Mary, the saints and deities of every religious denomination, all with hand-written notes begging people to strive for peace. The images are gut-wrenching. Even if you didn't know a single victim, there isn't any way you can walk past these photos and not be moved to tears. People on their way to work sob openly. It is a horror I can't begin to describe, and one that has not been televised.
Why am I telling you all this? To try to give you an idea of what New York is going through, certainly, but also to plead with everyone reading this to be just a little bit nicer to the person next to you. To ask you to pray for the families of victims, to perhaps give $1.00 to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, or other reputable organization.
On a more personal note to MJ, I'm glad you're still with us. I don't know what we'd all do without you. While the screaming sirens of fire trucks, ambulances and police cars raced past our building on their way downtown that morning, I retreated from the horrific images on TV and sought solace in my office from my MJ CDs. Your music has always gotten me through the bad times in my life, but never more so than on September 11, 2001. You calmed my spirits and diminished the incredible anxiety of that awful day. I am indebted to you.