It will be two weeks tomorrow since the horrible force that befell this country, and indeed the entire world. I have on three prior occasions started to write comments in a couple of the related threads and simply have not had the emotional wherewithal to finish, until I read Detlof's remarks. I thank him for his post and his wisdom.
On Tuesday 9/11 at 9:09 A.M., as I drove north on the New Jersey Tpk. I was shocked out of my "not quite awake yet" stupor by the most unbelievable sight. On my right up ahead, on the other side of the Hudson river, the twin towers were burning. WBGO in Newark informed me of what was happening. I wish I could describe what one feels at a time like that, but I can't. The shock and disbelief numbs one in part. I can only try to imagine what those in the burning buildings trying to get out, or heroically trying to get in felt.
Fifty minutes earlier I had dropped my ten year old son (the real Frogman) off at school in Brooklyn NY; a little earlier than usual, as I had to be in Newark NJ by ten. At that point of my trip I have two choices, through Staten Island to NJ, or through lower Manhattan, just past and underneath the WTC, to the Holland tunnel. I chose the Staten Island route. The sense of relief and almost petty self-congratulation that I felt for having chosen what had been the safest route, and not the one that would have put me smack in the middle of the devastation did not last long once I realized what a small inconvenience it was that I would be stranded in NJ for what would end up being thirty six hours, unable to get back into New York, let alone Brooklyn. I have never wanted to hug that ten year old boy as badly as I did that day.
NYC and this country as a whole has been changed forever. The feeling in NYC over the last thirteen days has been indescribable. The sound, the rhythm of the city is palpable in it's difference, absence, and sadness. The look on the faces of people on the streets and in the subways says it all. The feeling one gets upon entering one's home for the first time in thirty six hours and noticing that the smell of the destruction is trapped inside is very moving to us the lucky ones. But all the traits of the people of this country that Detlof so well describes are there in spades; more than ever. I hear people greeting each other more than ever, acts of kindness by ordinary folks are everywhere, inspired by the incredible generosity and heroism demonstrated by many.
As a ten year old boy myself I came to the US with family to escape the politics of Fidel Castro. I am indebted to this country for allowing my family and I to make this our home. I am proud to be an American; today more than ever. Despite it's mistakes and excesses, this was and continues to be the greatest country on the planet. What this country and it's people have demonstrated over the last thirteen days is awe inspiring. What a great example for the world to see. As far as the politics of it all, I have nothing to add to Detlof's comments.
I believe that in time this event will be seen, in spite of the horror, to have been the turning point to a better America and a better world. The forces of evil can not win over the collective good that the people of this planet are capable of. God bless America and our world.