The Spirit of the Twin Towers Can’t Be Destroyed
(I wrote this piece days after 9/11/2001 and think it still rings true today.)
When I lived in New York, I could look up at any hour of the day or night and see the twin towers of The World Trade Center. I took comfort in their presence and the knowledge that American freedom and the ideals of capitalism were hard at work. Especially at night, to look up and see the windows still lit when most of the city was asleep, to look up and know that free trade was taking place between our country and the rest of the globe, was inspiring.
The towers gave me a sense of being at the heart of what America stood for. The shadows they cast upon lower Manhattan were awesome reminders of the strength and stability personified by their presence.
The bombing attack on the World Trade Center in New York and The Pentagon was an attack on American ideals⎯freedom and capitalism. The World Trade Center was the embodiment of what is at the heart and soul of this country and the entire free world. Its destruction has penetrated and forever scarred all of those who hold dear the ideals on which this country was found. Similarly, the Pentagon stands for protecting those ideals and our way of life.
The roots where the two towers stood were dug into the same soil where the founders of this country walked. Where they planted the seeds from which liberty was born. Liberty Street. The founders’ blood and sweat marks that ground. They gave their lives for their ideals, for our way of life. In many ways the towers were the embodiment of those beliefs.
The gleaming towers – architectural marvels – were the symbols of the greatest heights humankind can achieve. They were the personification of our ability as a nation to rise up and become a beacon of light to the world. The shambles that now remain, rubble and shards of glass, are the result of an attempt to destroy all that we stand for as a nation.
How horribly ironic that the millions of immigrants who fled oppressive countries and regimes around the world seeking freedom, sailed into New York harbor and stood on the same ground that’s now marked by the very same kind of hatred they fled. The Statue of Liberty, which still stands as a protectorate to them, looked welcomingly upon them. Her eyes, a reflection of our own, now stare at the tragic gaping hole in disbelief, anger and resolve.
Furthering the irony is the fact that those who occupied the World Trade Center, at the time of its destruction, were from all corners of the world. Although the attack took place on American soil, it wasn’t only an attack on America. It was an attack on a way of life that has given back to the world everything in the way of opportunity, wealth and that same sense of liberty we’ve enjoyed here in this country.
The shining light that beamed down and was reflected off of those two buildings is gone now. Many of the people who worked in them, dead. However, what the twin towers stood for is not gone. Capitalism, the raison d’être guiding the individuals working in them, still lives on.
That guiding inspiration that built the towers in the first place will rise out of the ashes. Will triumph. The noble ideals on which the country was founded have been challenged. However, like a flower whose beautiful bud’s been cut, the roots are alive and well. The roots of this country; Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Franklin, are all still with us. They and we will prevail.