One Crisp First Day of Fall Nineteen Years Ago
Today, I left my home just as FDNY members were streaming past, down 100th Street toward the Riverside Park firefighters monument where they remembered their fallen for the 19th time in their annual rite.
I realized it was, again, September 11th.
In the first years, it was so raw. As time passed, the anniversary provided a chance to summon back the day's events, to remember and pay tribute. To mourn. Now nearly twenty years since 9/11, a generation gone by, I remain incredulous.
Waking New Yorkers soaked in the morning's perfection, readying for work. Not a hint of the waning summer's humidity. A clear, deep blue sky. A cool edge on a late summer day or a warm edge on an early fall day -- take your pick.
I get hung up when I think back, looping memories of the weather in the hours before disaster struck, the perversion of such a fine day juxtaposed with the date's murderousness.
And nineteen years later, I find solace in the poignant telltales, pictured here, left by firefighters remembering their own. It rekindles the solidarity I experienced with my fellow New Yorkers that whole autumn long. And I feel the throughline of that solidarity now in our current ordeal from which we momentarily emerge for a fine fall day.
~~Dedicated to the West Coast Firefighters with respect for their valor and hope for their safety.~~
To the men of the Fire Department
of the City of New York
who died at the call of duty
soldiers in a war that never ends
this memorial is dedicated by the people of a grateful city.