For me, today was going to be a day of quiet reflection about 9/11. But I’m frustrated and angry, so if you don’t want to read this, you don’t have to.
Here’s how downtown looked today. The site is a big hole in the ground; lots of people wanted to ring “The Bell of the Forgotten,” families of the dead had a memorial service smack in the middle of the pit and people gawked; and an unsuperstitious bride and groom celebrated their Sept. 11th wedding with Mr Softee.
It’s four years later. Four years since the day I stood frozen on the ground, counting the jumpers flying through the air like rag dolls — whose sight and sound still fill the dark dreams of sleep that will never be like before. Four years since thousands died for nothing. And since thousands more were spared when the towers imploded instead of falling forward; when the planes did not fall out of the buildings onto the streets, killing thousands more.
Four years later and all that’s in the place of the towers is a hole in the ground. No re-building has begun. None is going to start any time soon. Four years later, and as Hurricane Katrina proved, we are certainly not ready to handle a catastrophic event involving millions of people. Our President literally fiddled (well, so okay it was a guitar) while people drowned, died of thirst, were separated from their children, thousands of whom have still not been found.
This is America. Where four years ago New York police and firemen and other first responders gave their lives without a second thought to help others whom they’d never met. This is America, where New Yorkers were showered with the love of our countrymen while the Federal government told us to go fuck ourselves and even took back millions intended to help us re-build our shattered lives. Just like they told everybody in the Gulf to go to hell. And many are still there. But this time, there was a huge outcry and the government was called what is has long been, a bunch of ineffectual goons. And that may be the good that comes out of this disaster.
I don’t feel one bit safer today after seeing the way our elected leaders — especially the President, who will go down as the worst president in American history — are handling Katrina’s aftermath. Do you?