September 11, 2006
So, 9/11, five years on.
Like I've mentioned, I worked at the WTC towers for a few days in 1998... and while I guess my totally ordinary "where DO the years go?" pondering is a lot less sociopolitically siginificant than what happened in 2001, it is odd to me to think that the gap between my working there (and of course, the weirdness of visiting there (on 9/11/1999) and the tragedy is so much less time then between the tragedy and now.
Hell, those proud towers (arguably a little much for the neighborhood around them, though it sounds disrespectful to mention that controversy now) and their beautiful interplay of shadows were only around about 30 years. (Heh, and this page mentiond 10,000 people worked on them, and 60 people died during the construction--) That's not a great deal of time in the history of the city, even though they had such a huge significance in the skyline, and in how people thought of New York City, and maybe even how NYC thought of itself.
But of course, I'm just alternating between my subjective concerns, and thoughts on architecture, when its the human tragedy that makes the day what it is. 3,000 people... less than first feared, but still. 3,000 lives stopped over the course of a few hours. It's deeply disturbing to try and put yourself in their shoes, the doubt and confusion and fear. And of course the uncertainty might be one of the hardest parts to try and duplicate in empathy; we now know that the airplanes are going to be turned into missiles, that those towers are doomed to collapse, and can only really see the tragedy as the biggest event in a series of engagements between the West and Islamic terrorist.
(Ugh, you know, I forgot about the proximity this post would have to yesterday's "Mr Ibis on a Plane" logo, even though I just meant to play on the meme of a few months earlier.)