A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Commuter's Perspective on 9/11

From a commuting perspective, yesterday's ride into the World Trade Center on the Port Authority TransHudson (PATH) train was just another day. My wife called me on my cell to say there were thousands of people down at Ground Zero for the September 11th memorial. I expected to see crowds, but they weren't anywhere to be seen when I emerged at the Vesey Street and West Broadway exit from the PATH system. Going through the station to the street outside was just like the day before, except that it was blustery weather and everyone had their umbrellas out and were hunkered near the doorway watching the rain and wind.

From the personal perspective of the commuters, however, arriving at the station on the train prompted reflection. For me, the whole trip in today, and thinking about the trip in the day before and the day before that, could bring an involuntary welling of tears, a sudden flush, and a heave to the chest. Under the surface, for the most part. Maybe unnoticed, maybe not. I suppose that many of the seemingly normal commuters riding their usual train and hopping on the crowded escalators at WTC station were stealthily dealing with this same set of emotions.

I'm not sure how many more years they'll read all the names of the victims and cover this event on television each September 11th. But I know that the emotions of that day, the lives shattered, buildings torn asunder, the utter realization of hatred -- by them and by us -- and the sense of powerlessness to respond in those first hours, it all remains in our hearts and souls and surfaces not only on this anniversary but whenever New York has a crisp, clear day.


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