Yesterday, Navdeep and I grabbed dinner in Chinatown and decided to take the World Trade Center Path back to Jersey City.
It was about 11 p.m., and the place was as crowded as it always was with tourists and travelers and locals making their way home through the crowd and the construction on the World Trade Center Memorial, which has been in the works for nearly a decade.
We were walking hand-in-hand toward the Path stop, and we overheard some parents “explaining” 9/11 and its impact to their kids, who must have been around eight and ten. And it’s weird, thinking that you can just explain something like that. Because really, it’s been nearly ten years, and I still don’t get it.
Tonight, I woke up from an extended post-ASJA conference nap to see major news breaking on Twitter. Yes, I found out about the death of Terrorist Number One Osama bin Laden on Twitter, via my iPhone.
The news shook me. Even to this day, almost ten years after the fact, I can’t go to the World Trade Center Path without pretty much tearing up. That’s sort of pathetic, but I think it’s understandable. This was perhaps the defining moment of a generation, the one that will stay with us — the one where we’ll always remember exactly where we were when it happened. It’s left a gaping hole in my city, and also somewhere inside me.
And yet, I can’t get into the crowds chanting and cheering at the WTC or the White House. As much pain and suffering the man caused in so many lives, it still feels odd to celebrate a death. It does, though, bring a sense of closure.
But also, ten years later, it brings more worry. I have a baby who is 14-months old. We live across the river from the World Trade Center. All the patriotism that’s being shown on TV and the Internet and all over the media will no doubt reignite some of that anti-American sentiment that has always been simmering. Will we face the wrath of that again. I worry for my family and my country in the wake of this celebratory night.
The impact of Sept. 11 is still with all of us — whether you were in New York, California or watching on TV from across the planet. I hope this closure doesn’t come at an even bigger cost.