Having lived these past six years as a New Yorker, I’ve remembered and contemplated the tragedy that took place nine years ago more often than I ever knew I would. Less than a month after I moved here, I followed the beams of light that shine into the sky each year where the towers once stood from Washington Square Park all the way down to Ground Zero. I wasn’t yet familiar enough with the city to really know where I was going, but I kept my eyes up and I walked. I remember very distinctly the feelings I had when I first saw the emptiness there. I remember picking up my phone and leaving weakly-spoken voicemails for my loved ones. I remember searching for my breath.
There’s something so amazingly alive about this place. When something important is happening somewhere, you can almost feel it everywhere else. Even though I didn’t know the city before, being inside and a part of it now, there’s a real sense that a limb is missing from this beautiful concrete creature. Finally, it’s been just long enough since that sometimes days or months will pass without feeling the immediacy of that loss, but every so often that phantom sensation comes creeping in.
Today is one of those days when we all feel it, when we all remember where we were and when we knew. Even the City takes a moment of pause. The Chrysler Building dims her lights, the Empire State Building beams red, white, and blue, and those two towering beacons gleam into the clouds.