A Native New Yorker Speaks - A Different Perspective
Like everyone else my Wife and I were profoundly affected by the horrific tragedy in New York and Washington this past week. I would like to offer a different perspective on these events. My following comments should not be construed to be a diminution of those who lost their lives or the suffering of their relatives or close friends.
Cindy and I are native New Yorkers, who for the past eleven years have been fortunate to live in the Third Lake-Grayslake community. While living in or visiting the New York metro area, the twin towers are ever present Although located at the foot of Manhattan they can be seen for over fifty miles if a clear view is available. – They could be seen in television panoramas from Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, from the Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester county, from areas along the Connecticut and Long Island shorelines. This is similar to viewing the tips of the Sears and Hancock buildings from Illinois Beach State Park. Like the Sears Tower, the Hancock Building, Soldier Field, the Water Tower they were symbols of New York City. But they were more. Because of their proximity to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island, the twin towers were truly symbols of America. Years ago when travelers arrived in New York Harbor by ship they were greeted to New York and the United States by the Statue of Liberty. Up until last Tuesday, the first view of our Country by airline passengers arriving in the New York metro airports from Europe were the World Trade Center Towers. Because of the sheer size and prominence in the New York skyline, they were used by these travelers as signposts to Lady Liberty.
The New York skyline has been changed forever. America has been changed forever. A symbol of our freedom and prosperity has been eradicated. I have read that the World Trade Center will be rebuilt. Such an action will serve as a fitting monument to those innocent victims and their rescuers who lost their lives that infamous day!
A personal note, during the years 1975 through 1979 I worked in Tower 2 (the South Tower). Insurance Services Office was an original tenant of the nineteenth and twentieth floors. Through my window, I watched Building 5 being constructed. The images on television fail to portray the proximity of the structures in the World Trade Center complex, or the size of the towers from ground level. It is difficult for me to image how the shattered 110 floors of each tower can fit into the concourse. Although, luckily, no family members or close associates were affected by the calamity, I feel a deep loss as a former New Yorker and an American.
After the events of September 11, Cindy reminded me of a paperweight I had in the bookshelf. While working at the Trade Center, office expansion of our floors was occurring. To supply offices and cubicles with power and communication, holes were bored into the floor to access the conduit containing electrical and telephone lines. Some of the employees picked up the resultant cores and used them as paperweights.
I realized that I held in my hands a piece of the Tower which I had justseen crashing to the ground on live TV!!
Before Friday’s candlelight vigil in Grayslake, I contacted Bruce Peterson who organized the activity and related my story to him. I offered the use of the paperweight during the ceremony to “bring closer to home” a tangible symbol of this tragedy.
This Monday, as a Trustee, I will bring this paperweight to the regularly scheduled Third Lake Village Board Meeting, relate its meaning and call for a moment of silence to mourn all that was lost last Tuesday.
May God Bless America!
Third Lake, IL