Monday, September 11, 2017

Sweet land of liberty and loss.

Longtime readers (bless you) may know that I really don't like to talk much about September 11, but I am always compelled to write something to commemorate the date. It may be about constant reminders; it may be about idiot conspiracy nuts. It could be about grief, a feeling we are all getting pretty strongly with all these hurricanes and wildfires walloping our country as I write.

We were in Manhattan that day, my wife was downtown; I had to walk half the length of Manhattan, but we got out alive and unharmed.

A decade and more later I happened to be killing time in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was down by the waterfront when I got this shot on my old flip phone:
The tall building in the center is, of course, the Freedom Tower, officially 1 World Trade Center, under construction. This must have been late in 2012, judging by other construction photos. It took for freaking ever to get the damned thing started, but once they got all the cats herded and the plans drawn up and the foundation secured it went pretty smoothly.

I'm not sure what I want to say about it. I don't even remember why I was in Hoboken the day I took this shot. Although two more years would pass before the building opened, I do remember it made me happy to see the tower's structure in place. That's why I took this lousy shot on my crummy phone.

I'm less optimistic about the future of the country now than I was in 2012 or 2002, believe it or not. As I mentioned yesterday, I fear our culture is so suicidal that we may not be able to pull back from the brink. Recently the citizens of Houston showed us what a functioning society looks like when it takes on a crisis, but I do not see that kind of spirit at large in the country. We had it in New York on September 11, 2001. We do not have it in New York now. Everyone hates everyone and everyone acts like a jerk. No enemy could have inflicted on us what we have inflicted on ourselves.

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