I live in Washington DC but happened to be in NYC two years ago today visiting my sister.
“Are you sure that building can withstand such an impact?” I queried the carpenter standing next to me. We were standing on the rooftop terrace of an apartment in Greenwich Village.
He and several other workmen had ceased their renovations to stare at the surreal spectacle a mile south of us.
The Twin Towers were aflame, belching gargantuan clouds of gray smoke.
“Oh sure, no problem. They reinforced those buildings after the 1993 bombing,” he reassured me. We continued to stare…
Somehow it wasn’t real.
Not until we listened on the radio and ran back inside to watch on TV. And even when the towers fell in slow motion before our naked eyes I had to watch it again on TV to believe.
Two years later what seems important is not so much that I was a witness but how acutely American I feel.
Here in the U.S. we are as vulnerable to terrorism as any country. But more disturbing, we as Americans are NOT like everyone else.
Our current course of foreign policy is putting us at odds with the rest of the world.
The most notable story on the front page of The New York Times on this sad, sobering anniversary of 9/11, is that the U.S. is now perceived of as “an imperial power that has defied world opinion by the unilateral use of military force.” I don’t support the current Bush administration. Yet as an American I feel complicit.