A Hopeful View on a September Day

13 years after the attacks, our city reaches the clouds again.

Posted in , Sep 11, 2014

The New York City skyline featuring the Freedom Tower

Last Sunday I visited the Statue of Liberty with my wife, her cousin and his family. It was the first time I’d been to Liberty Island in 15 years or so.

Standing at the high point facing east on the statue’s pedestal, I stared out over the Hudson at the head-on view of downtown Manhattan. The skyline was different the last time I was here. Where the Twin Towers once were, One World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower, now stands sentinel over the financial district.

I pass by the One World Trade construction site every day, walking to and from the Guideposts offices. I’ve seen the tower slowly climb towards the sky, and wrap itself in a silver cloak of glass that glimmers in the sun. But seeing it from this angle, nearly complete, gave me a different kind of feeling.

Here I was, standing at Lady Liberty, the symbol of everything our country stands for, staring at the Freedom Tower–a symbol of our resiliency against those who would seek to destroy our way of life.

I remember well that day in September, when it seemed the world was falling apart. The thick, metallic smell that clung to the air. The gray ashes covering the clothes of survivors and the ambulances emerging from the chaos downtown. Everyone wondering if the attacks were over, or if there were more to come.

Yet, almost immediately, people began to offer helping hands, prayer, donations, to aid the rescue efforts. Sifting through the wreckage, we discovered miracles that gave us hope for the future. We pushed past our fear and anger, and began to rebuild.

That’s the spirit that has prevailed. Today, the hole in the skyline has been filled. Families of the victims are even letting go of items belonging to their loved ones that they once couldn’t bear to part with, in order to create a space in the 9/11 memorial dedicated to putting a face to every one of the victims.

Thirteen years after the attacks, the healing of our city is nearly complete.

The extremist ideals that led to the attacks and brought such misery to so many continue to plague the world, as the recent events in the Middle East remind us all too well.

But the view from Lady Liberty leaves me optimistic for the future. Devastation can’t dominate the human spirit. It can’t defeat our faith. Whatever they destroy, we will rebuild, stronger than before.

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