“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” Sandy Dahl
“Last day of summer” was photographed at Jacob Riis Park, Rockaway Beach, N.Y.
Many of my fellow New Yorkers remember what they were doing on that day sixteen years ago. My friend D was on a train trying to get home from the Midwest, S watched it from a window, J from a rooftop. I myself was in the West Village, where I lived at the time, and saw one of the buildings fall while watching from the side walk on Hudson Street.
It looked like a movie had been projected onto a screen. Shiny papers rose high in the sky as the building collapsed onto itself. We wandered around that day, trying to be useful, to give blood, anything to help. Later that week I sobbed as I walked past thousands of Xeroxes: beautiful wedding photos, pictures of virile men and lovely women with babies and dogs. “Have you seen me?” was written across the top of the page.
Life is tenuous. On the side of the survived: my husband, who was supposed to be at Windows on the World for a conference but had had a bike accident, my sister in law, who had a meeting but could not find a sitter, my room mate who had an appointment but was hung over, and therefore, late. On the side of the deceased, my brother’s friend B, my husband’s work colleagues and thousands of other New Yorkers just like me.
A year later on that day I was at my brother J’s beach house in West Hampton. It was a bright sunny day with fifty mile an hour winds. The sand stung my legs as I walked on the beach and thought about that day.