Looking for the Resurrection
by Norman Costa
I'm thinking of taking a train into NYC on Sunday, 9/11/2011. I won't get anywhere near Ground Zero to see the commemorative ceremonies, and certainly not be able to approach the Memorial. I was there over a year ago. The site was cleaned up and looked like one of those old movie sets for filming a story about building the Great Pyramid with ramps descending into a cavernous foundation.
Imagine Cecil B. DeMille's stage directors placing heavy blocks to be moved up and down the ramp. Hundreds of extras are dispersed around the set. Scaffolding, ropes, cranes, shovels, wheel barrows, and hammers are specs of stage props in a huge open air theatre.
I'm hoping to see, for the first time, a materialization from the ashes of obliterated people and structures. I would really like to see a rejuvenation of pride and confidence in New Yorkers and in everyone. I'm still wondering if I'll feel that way. I think that's the real reason I want to go to Ground Zero - why I want to place myself midst the others who will make the pilgrimage and pay their respects.
I was there when the Twin Towers were going up. I followed news stories of the progress, and interesting copy on the engineering and construction of these monoliths. Critics went up one side and down the other of the edifices and the architechs. To hell with the critics, I loved the Twin Towers from the beginning. I don't know how many times I was at Windows on the World having a drink or something to eat. The view of the East River was my favorite. You could see the FDR Drive, the jigsaw puzzle of Federal, City, and State buildings, the BMW bridges (Oh, yeah!), and the reflected sunset from the West, courtesy of the people of New Jersey.
Today, as then, my favorite view of Manhattan is from Queens, driving on the highway leading to the Queens-Midtown tunnel. It was breath taking for me, and for anyone I took on a visit to New York City. I am not being sentimental when I say that, for me, I grieve when I see that monstrous vacuum in the skyline at the southern tip of Manhattan. If I didn't have to attend to driving, I would pull over and sit and look, as I would at the graveside of a friend or family. There is a big hole in the sky, and it will never be the same.
By sheer accident, three of my family members who worked at the WTC survived the horror: My cousin received a last minute change in assignment from his supervisor; My son-in-law was late for a Path train from New Jersey into lower Manhattan; my daughter's father-in-law had a scheduled off-site meeting. I and my family were lucky and we are very grateful.
Three-thousand human beings perished; family and friends by the tens of thousands were grieving; our country, and most of the world, were in shock. Now, we have many hundreds of responders who survived the first horror, but were harmed in the process of rescue, recovery, and demolition. Their families are now added to the list of collateral damage from the original devastation
I hope I can take that train into Grand Central Terminal on Sunday morning, 9/11. I think I will regret it if I don't. A Resurrection is meant for all of us.