September 11, 2005
But while wandering around Red Hook with my family and looking out over the water towards Manhattan I remembered it is September 11th. "September 11th" has been so co-opted by our president and his party for crass political gain and war mongering that even the silent mental recitation of the phrase made me feel queasy. But of course it is absurd to allow the petty vainglorious machinations of the current administration interfere with remembrance of what is all of ours to bear.
I was not here in 9/11/2001. I had left town on September 5th on one of my sojourns half a world away. On the eleventh I was in the mountains cut off from all communication. I didn't hear about the attacks until almost a week later, and even then the information was incomplete. It wasn't until I landed in Hong Kong almost a month after the fact and walked into a newsstand in the deserted airport that the full scale of the destruction hit me. The rows of magazines with pictures of the towers, the victims, and the aftermath was shattering... almost incomprehensible, but of course everything was over.
Never did I have to suffer the urgent fear of not knowing what was going to happen next so prevalent on that day. It was much later still that I discovered a friend of mine, Suria Clarke had been working for Cantor Fitzgerald and had perished in the North Tower. She had been in a division of the company known as eSpeed and I didn't know it was connected to Cantor. I tried to contact her on my return to New York and found her phone dead. I had assumed she had moved and that I would hear from her soon. Only after suggesting to a mutual friend that she be a guest at a dinner party did I learn the awful truth.
Suria had a quality one so rarely finds in New York: she was an utterly reliable friend. I could call her late on a Monday night for dinner and she would arrive within the hour in good spirits and with 2 or 3 good stories to tell. She was always up for a movie or drinks or an exploratory walk around an unknown neighborhood. As both a Brit and a new arrival she had sharp eye for the absurdities of this city which she loved dearly. She of all people would be horrified by so much of what has been done in the name of the victims. Any tragedy becomes amplified if you have some connection to it and Suria's loss even more than the holes in the sky made it all hit home for me.
Photos from that day from the nonist.