Dale, Geraldine, Elizabeth and I stood in the middle of my street, looking south and up–10 blocks from my building the tops of the Towers burned.
Robyn, Riki Leigh and Camille called frantically from L.A.–like I had done after North Ridge. And there was an email from Earl, a North Carolina state trooper, whom I’d met three weeks earlier, watching in awe as he, his wife and friends danced to live blue grass at a bbq barn in the Blue Ridge.
My neighborhood was immediately occupied by first-responders and other official rescue workers. An emergency medicine doctor from Mount Sinai told me how distraught she was that there was “no one to save.” Neighborhood kids wandered around trying to help and maybe help themselves find a way through the haze of disbelief and pain we were all lost in.
In September 2004, on the way home from registering voters in Cleveland, we detoured a bit to see Falling Water and realizing Shanksville was nearby, visited the empty field. The gash from Flight 93 had healed. Other tourists were leaving the objects we Americans bring to sites of senseless death and mass murder–stuffed toys, angels, the flag, flowers.
Today some Republicans (including some with contentious relationships with President Obama and/or Presidential aspirations) were giving Bush some credit for the raid. Ironically Osama bin Laden was killed eight years to the day that W. co-piloted onto the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and standing under the now infamous and much-mocked “Mission Accomplished” banner, declared the end of major combat in Iraq. But Bin Laden was allowed to “slip away” in Tora Bora–some in the administration were cruelly savvy enough to know there would no stomach (or heart) for war in Iraq if the “mastermind of 9/11” had already been seized.
I feel like 9/11 just happened, like it never happened, like I dreamt it–84,480 hours have passed. I feel like “justice has been done,” as President Obama said yesterday. But I don’t feel closure and I don’t feel jubilation. And I don’t feel like partying in the streets.