Have you been to New York City or Washington D.C. since September 11? What, if anything, was different?
Almost immediately after the terrorist attacks, the site of the World Trade Center became a tourist attraction where people went to post messages, take pictures, or read the memorial wall. Have you been to New York City or Washington D.C. since the terrorist attacks? Did you notice anything different about the people, the environment, the landscape, or the general attitude?
A look at two cities: New York Washington, DC
I just moved here after 10 years in Washington, DC. Last Sept 11, I was working 4 blocks from the White House when we had an emergency staff meeting stating a 4th plane was headed to the White House and would be there in 5 minutes. We were instructed to get away from the windows and bunker down in our office library where all 50 of us stayed for about an hour till we found out what happened on CNN. The next day my boss told me I would only be paid till approximately when the Pentagon was struck. I left that company within a week. What was amazing about being in DC during the next few weeks was how people examined their value systems and what they came up with. Some people really care about people, others about money, etc. One thing people can do in commemoration is figure out how they want to live and if they are indeed living that way, and surround themselves with like-minded people. One nice thing about people in DC is strangers would come up to me and ask if I was all right, and if people were being nice to me, and to make sure to report any racist attacks. DC is an intelligent dignified city in times of crisis. We aren't going to forget, why do the media think we will? That's ridiculous. Many families who lost someone in 9-11 have a campaign asking that a warning be issued before footage of 9-11 is shown -- why should they watch their friends and relatives be murdered over and over again for some inane idea that people will forget?
I have been to NYC several times since the attacks for various reasons and in various parts of the city. I really don't perceive any difference in the way they conduct their business down there. If you are in the middle of Times Square, you would really have no idea that you are about 5 miles from Ground Zero. I think that New Yorkers by their nature realize that they are a target and just get on with life. I think there has been more paranoia in Boston than there has been in NY.
I've been to both cities a couple of times since Sept. 11th. I remember being really nervous at first... it just seemed so strange to be going to these places after they had been rocked by such trauma, fear, pain, and sadness. It seemed inappropriate in way... like I was treading on hallowed ground... that somehow me and my fellow travelers were disrupting something very sacred. On the other hand, it felt absolutely appropriate -- almost a strange way of embracing fellow Americans and uniting in our country's refound resolve to live strongly and freely. Anyway... it was strange. Other than tighter security in D.C., I didn't notice much of a change. Of course one doesn't sense much when going straight from the airport to an office. Not much interaction with the people themselves, out on the streets. In New York, though, everything seemed quieter, slower, and softer (if that makes sense). The edginess of the city seemed much less apparent -- everyone seemed more observant, more serious. There was this sense of quiet reverance that just seemed to hang heavy in the air. Strange, especially for New York. It's hard to walk around that city now without feeling a weight in your heart. Anyway, I agree that it's imperative to remember Sept. 11th; but it occurs to me that so many of us (myself included) tend to focus on New York and the World Trade Center. I think it's crucial that we gently remind ourselves and others not to forget those that died, those that were hurt, and those that lost loved ones in both D.C. and Pennsylvania. Those people suffered just as intensely, just as horribly. Tomorrow and always, we must pay all these people the honor and respect they earned so innocently and tragically one year ago. Victims and heroes... fellow Americans. We will never forget.
Everyone seemed friendlier, based on a visit last May. The towers would have been dwarfed by the spirit of New Yorkers. New York will always be New York as long as you can get cheesecake and smell the sidewalk pretzels on a brisk fall day, which is to say forever :)
I grew up on Long Island and most of my family is still there. We spend a lot of time there. I have lived in Mass for more than 15 years, and one of my co-workers was murdered on Flight 11. My preception is that what has changed is the same in most people. Its not limited to New Yorkers or Bostonians, or anyone else (unless you were personally touched by these murderous events). Its a clarity about life, about neighbors and friends, about your home and your country. The is a better understand that life is fragile and precious. It doesn't carry into every aspect of living. Some people can still be discourtious, impatient, rude. But for the most part, people live their lives better. Its sad that many of our leaders in business, in religion, and in politics, haven't risen to the same level as the average citizen. But its good that we as a people, are less willing to put up with poor or intollerable behavior. And I hope that we will demand more from those around us who hold positions of power. I hope that we all learned from this great loss!
I think Americans and America will never be the same. I think we have become much more patriotic and apprciative of what we have and of what we have lost.
Dmitry Simankov, Ashland
I have been to New York several times since 9/11. New York is more United then ever. The city hs come together in strength and unity since 9/11 and I think it should stay that way.
Nick Thomopson, Scarsdale,NY