Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Sad Day, Not a Bad Day

I confess that I was a bit anxious as to how the anniversary of 9/11 was going to be commemorated. I was afraid it would be a very heavy-handed, depressing day.

Of course it was sad. I knew that the same thing was going through everyone's minds as I walked through SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Union Square. But people were going about their business just the same. And it was a lovely day. A gusty day, but a welcome change from the ickiness of the past week. Lots of people were outside, stopping by the parks on their lunch breaks. During my particular lunch break I went to Union Square, where there were stations at which you could create a drawing or a message and have it put up on a wall. I sat down and made a contribution, and then took my lunch next to a very nice Jack Russell terrier named Spot. I followed up lunch with a visit to Petco, because no matter how sad I get, watching small furry animals will always make me happy.

Tonight Christine and I went to a candlelight vigil in Washington Square Park. Although it was very nice to see the NYU community gather together for something (anything), I have to say that the event didn't go off as planned. For one thing, the wind, which was beyond anyone's control, made the science of candlelighting considerably difficult. For another, the orchestra (which was supposed to be the centerpiece) was barely audible, so no one really knew when to start being reverent and carried on talking and laughing and trying to keep the candles lit. I guess there was something redeeming in that, but it wasn't the solemn occasion I thought it would be. Real reflection occurred on the walk home south on LaGuardia Place, where there was nothing but pitch black where the towers once sparkled.

But all in all, New York didn't seem to be a depressed city today. Last year, it was a place drained of its energy and spirit. Today people were solemn, but not somber. It was a day to honor the people that died, and celebrate the city that went through a crushing blow, but somehow got its rhythm back nonetheless. It will never be the same, but it's still very much alive .

So September 11, 2002 was a reflective day, but reflective in a positive manner. Not a bad day at all, on the whole.