Friday, September 09, 2011

Everything is Changed, Nothing is Different

Over the Labor Day week-end I had the pleasure of showing a friend from Canada around the Financial District of New York City.  Of course, her primary interest was in the World Trade Center Site.  She was surprised at the amount of work that had been done.  Yet we were also cognizant of the fact that it is now ten years since that horrible day when so many lost their lives in the collapse of the two World Trade Center buildings.  The replacement buildings are still not completed.

After walking around the perimeter of the construction site that has now replaced the wreckage of the buildings, we made the requisite pilgrimage to the larger-than-life bronze bull statue that serves as the Financial District mascot.  Yes, she took fore and aft pictures of the robust animal, elbowing her way through a throng of tourists.

Then it was off to the U.S. flag-draped New York Stock Exchange on the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.  On the opposite corner more tourists rested on the steps of the museum memorializing George Washington's first inaugural speech as President of the United States.  As we walked I pointed out the new residential high-rises that have sprouted up among the older buildings, some of which are dated back over a century.  Then we looked for a spot for a cool beverage, landing on stools at a long-time established Irish pub on Maiden Lane just down the street from the Federal Reserve Building.
In the days since our quick tour of the neighborhood, I reflected on the day and was struck by little New York's Financial District has changed since September 11, 2001.  By this time I had begun to hear media coverage anticipating the 9/11 remembrance that would come on the week-end.  News media clips were in stark contrast to the little mini-tour with my friend.  The country was profoundly impacted by the event, seemingly changing everything.  Families were shattered with the unexpected and violent loss of parents and children.  So many first responders went into those buildings and never came back out, leaving their families with only the comfort of knowing their husband or father died a hero.

Yet the stock exchanges housed in New York’s Financial District still open each day, with traders and analysts arriving each morning in buses, cabs and subway trains.  The Federal Reserve is still functioning. Real estate investors still find reason to raise tall, graceful buildings for people to live and work in the neighborhood that the Dutch started back in the 1500s.  Residents walk the streets with purpose, no fear in their eyes.  Tourists still flock to icons of capitalism and freedom with no less zeal than ever.

So much for bringing Western Capitalism to its feet.  The master minds behind the attacks on September 11, 2011, were sociopaths with a thirst for blood and violence  -  nothing more.  There was no real political objective.  The religious inspiration was just a cloak to give murder legitimacy in the eyes of whoever paid for the plan.  Such criminals are no match for productive people who love to work and have a passion for peace  -  the kind of people who live in New York City.

Everything changed on September 11, 2001, but ten years later nothing is different.

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