Standing on Hallowed Ground (Zero)
Today I got to accept a check on behalf of the Fund. The check was given at Ground Zero, and it was my first opportunity to really get close, closer than the public viewing areas. I was taken into the area by one of our board members, Tom Von Essen, the former Fire commissioner. Tom is a great guy, with the right amount of seriousness and good stories to tell about what went well in such a sad and painful place. The donors were wonderful, but I won't specifically mention them to allow them to announce their very generous contribution in their own way.
Tommy told, with some sadness, about having to let WTC7 burn. "We never let 44 story buildings burn in New York." But I believe they were worried about water flooding areas of the site where people might have been rescued. Of course, everyone knows this did not happen, and there was almost no one to rescue.
Standing on what used to be Vessey street, now a construction zone over the subway tunnels to be fixed, looking out into the 'bathtub' that keeps out the water from the Hudson and that contained the foundation, we talked about various memorial ideas. I just kept looking at what used to be the centerpiece of downtown, a symbol of America, the tallest building I'd ever been in, as a 7-story-deep hole.
I'm looking forward to this book, coming out in September. I've been told to read Report from Ground Zero as well, as an excellent guide to a terrible, wonderful time.
I've had some great experiences, and some terrible, working for the Fund. I am not as lyrical a writer as my sister, nor as clever as some other folks, so I feel as if I don't have much to articulate about the hole in downtown, in our hearts, in America, that others have not said. I know today, though, why there should be a significant memorial. You can hear the voices crying out. Longing for their kids, for their loved ones. And asking us also to visit and remember. But also to go on, go to work, life life and cheat terror. And so there should be buildings, and commerce, and life and a park and people, to fill the hole. All the holes. Till we are whole. Again.