(Photo by Larry Towell/Magnum via the Globe and Mail.)
To all of the heroes, past and present, and all of those we have lost.
A reader sent me a note after my Pull Up a Chair thread Saturday morning, and I thought that a portion of it really cut to the heart of what 9/11 meant to a whole lot of folks. I asked for permission to share a bit with all of you, and here it is:
About 10 feet from the door there was this awful smell of burning which turned out to be the stench from that day now covering her husband. He sat slumped on the floor in the middle of the kitchen. My other neighbors kids call him the bear mostly because he is so damn hairy but he is six foot three and weighs in at about two eighty and looks like the typical huge muscular firefighter only bigger and here he sits covered in ash and soot still in his protective clothing with tears streaking his face. The odd thing was he was blubbering like a baby without actually, physically blubbering. Tears were just streaming out of his eyes as he sat there. We tried desperately to engage him and after a few minutes he seemed to notice us finally and could only repeat ‘there’s nothing, there’s nothing, there’s nothing left.’ After several hours we had managed to get his clothes off and clean him up a bit but we couldn’t get him to take anything but water. He was still of course terribly distraught and we were discussing what we could do when he turned to me and repeated ‘There is nothing left. Not a lamp not a desk not a chair, thousands of offices and not one fucking chair left anywhere, how the fuck am I going to find my brothers?’
I am telling you this because the first night that the lights were turned on at the WTC he and I went up on the roof of our building to look. As I took that photo I sent you yesterday he said to me " It looks like those lights are the path to heaven, I think it will be alright in the end".
This is the photo taken that night. May it bring you some measure of peace as it did for our reader’s friend, or at least a moment to reflect on where we were, where we are, and where you hope that we will go.
If you weren’t around for Saturday’s remembrances, do take a read back through the Pull Up a Chair thread. So many of our readers in NYC, in DC, all over the country, were connected to the events of 9/11 in some way — and the comments section of that post is quite a read.
This is one of those times when words just fail me.
(CNN is running live replay of their 9/11 coverage via their online Pipeline feature today. I know this is not something that everyone wants to watch, but on the off chance that some of you might be interested, I wanted to give everyone a heads up that it is available.)