– And I remember 9-11

Peter Gleeson - Staff Writer

Have things changed since Sept. 11, 2001? Absolutely! And significantly!
Every day on my way to work I pass a home without a husband, without a father – and I remember 9/11.
Every day at the second bus stop, Mark is no longer waiting for the bus. Was he a father? A husband? All I know is that he was a fellow commuter (I feel guilt that I don’t know more about him) – and I remember 9/11.
When we reach the last stop before getting on the highway to New York, I wonder about some faces I haven’t seen since the attack and I speculate about their whereabouts. Did they just stop working in NY? Did they move, change jobs or were they victims? – I remember 9/11.
At a certain point on the New Jersey Turnpike the lower Manhattan skyline comes into view for the first time. Looking around on the bus you can see people steering and shaking their heads – and I know like me, they remember 9/11.
Heading into lower Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel you notice more security and occasionally a policeman will get on the bus and look around – and I remember 9/11.
In lower Manhattan the bus passes St. Paul’s Church. St. Paul’s is a city block in itself, surrounded by a wrought iron fence. The fence has been turned into a memorial to the victims of the attack. It is jam-packed from ground to the highest spike with pictures of the victims left there by their families, with thank you notes from strangers, with flags from different nations, with gifts from school children, with baseball caps from firefighters and policemen from around the world, with birthday greetings, anniversary greetings, with memories – and I remember 9/11.
Across the street a jeans store has preserved a portion of the store behind sealed glass just as it looked after the Towers fell – and I remember 9/11.
We get off the bus at Wall Street and head for the footpath on the left side of the street. The street itself as well as the right footpath is closed to all traffic, including pedestrians. Those entering the New York Stock Exchange have to endure several armed stations – and I remember 9/11.
As I approach the one permissible entrance to my building, I make sure that my ID badge is visible for the security guards on duty. As I enter the lobby I can’t help but notice the big x-ray machine for visitors or for those who forget their IDs – and I remember 9/11.
Occasionally, at lunch time, I pass one or other of the local firehouses and see the pictures of the firemen lost in the attack – and I remember 9/11.
Sometimes, on a wet day, that smell which permeated lower Manhattan on and after Sept. 11, seems to fill the air. Memory or real, I’m never sure – and I remember 9/11.
Have things changed since Sept. 11, 2001? Absolutely! And significantly!