It Hardly Matters

Friday, August 24, 2007

Six Years

It's weird. I keep forgetting that every year in late August I start getting a permanent migraine, become absent-minded and dull, and just want to sleep all the time. Joy, happiness, or even plain old laughter is hard to come by. At first I chalk it up to end-of-summer stress, financial woes, loneliness, and more recently, back-to-school trepidation, but after about a week of feeling weird and out of it I remember that it's because it's approaching the beginning of September, that beautiful New York month when the humidity drops but the sun still shines and there's hope and renewal and football and new notebooks that is then shattered by hatred and death and destruction and fear.

I'm not ready to write about September 11, but I hope to at least attempt to do so, someday. For now, I'll just rant for a minute.

What the hell is happening at Ground Zero? It's a disgusting tourist-laden pit of stagnation and emptiness. I try to follow the "plans" for "fixing" it, but they are so convoluted and pointless and long overdue that my brain becomes mush.

The number of firefighters that have died because of what happened on September 11 has climbed to 345. Two firefighters died there last week, trying to stop a fire in a building that has stood broken and empty, blackened and shrouded, for six years. This week, two more were seriously injured, helmets shattered, by a falling 300-pound jackhammer that slammed into a FDNY work shed at 75 miles per hour. The FDNY was our country's army, our defense, on that day, on- and off-duty firefighters rushing toward the unknown and into the hell that was the World Trade Center to try and stop it, to try and save people.

So how is the current state of Ground Zero acceptable? How can our city and our government not feel the outrage that I do and make steps toward change, toward clean up, toward moving on, toward respectful remembrance, toward honor and decency? I may be uninformed about what's really going on down there, but the fact remains: it's still a hole, a pile of debris, an open wound.

I don't care if it's a park, a building, a giant fucking slab of concrete. Please do something with that space. It's been six years. At this rate, on the tenth anniversary, we'll all still be staring through a chain-link fence into a pit. Is that how we want to honor the dead? Is that their legacy?

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