A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 76: Love and Fear at Ground Zero

September 11th · 1 Comment

I joined the throngs at the former World Trade Center today to get a sense for how New Yorkers are expressing their grief, on the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

At Helmsley Plaza, a block from Ground Zero, a Mennonite choir sang hymns and passed out pamphlets emblazoned, “Love Your Enemies.” Nearby a woman stood calmly between signs promoting something called the Bowing Project. “The 9/11 Bowing Project intends to honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, by compassionately witnessing this desire-to-destroy within ourselves, and choosing not to act on it,” her sign said.

Meanwhile, down Broadway, the conspiracy theorists decamped outside the gates of St. Paul’s Chapel.  Dozens of them stood in their black “Investigate 911” shirts. (While researching this post I discovered they have a name: “Troofers Truthers.”)

Troofers marshal a lot of tantalizing facts that, taken together and squinted at in just the right light, suggest that Bush and his people engineered the catastrophe of 9/11.

One bearded troofer squinted up at a stately granite building that sits right across from where the World Trade Center came crashing down. “How come it didn’t take out the federal office building?” he asked suspiciously, as if to imply that George Bush, Mr. My-Pet-Goat, Mr. Mission-Accomplished, had guided the path of tons of falling rubble with an invisible hand.

Two scenes by Ground Zero, two paths of responding to fear – by fighting against it, as the conspiracy theorists do, or transcending it, as advocated by the peaceniks down the street.

Tags: Sights & Scenes

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Sulley // Sep 12, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I’d rather die for sweet justice than live in submission.

    Alexander the Great could have genuinely appreciated these compassionate types.

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