Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Friday, October 13, 2006

New York # 2 - The Day the World Changed

It's a bit freaky looking at the photos of Ground Zero for this post and reading the headlines from the papers yesterday. Yet another plane crashed into a high-rise apartment on the Upper East Side, sparking fears of another terrorist incident. Fortunately and unfortunately, it was not a commercial jet but a light plane piloted by a Yankees player and his instructor. And both of us remembering various scenes from the Oliver Stone movie, World Trade Centre, which we had caught just this Tuesday past. It's just a bit too surreal.

Anyway, back to Ground Zero. I don't think there's very much to say about how affecting a visit is, even 5 years after it happened. Suffice to say, September 11 2001 was definitely a day that changed the world; many still say they remember where they were and what they were doing when news broke. I still remember coming in from an outing with friends to say goodnight to my folks and being told that an aeroplane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. Being a little confused (as Singapore also has a building called the World Trade Centre), I came further into the room to take a look at the TV headlines and stood horrified as I watched one of the towers collapse in real time. Then the ensuing panic and sleepless night that followed when I remembered that I had friends working in the big investment banks which had offices in the WTC…

We arrived in NYC on September 12 and missed the remembrance ceremony marking the 5th anniversary of 911. A's colleague, YF, however, had flown in a couple of days before us and made it there. Here are some of his photographs...

The entrance to the PATH station
The void where the World Trade Centre used to be

Relatives are allowed into the site

This is sad....

Tolling the bell for each victim

A and I made it down a week later to see the various memorials and picture exhibitions around Ground Zero and at St. Paul's Chapel directly across (which survived the collapse of the WTC without broken windows even as its graveyard was strewn with debris).

Even though the cleanup and rebuilding is progressing well and everyone around us is going about their business, we both still senses a palpable grief arising from the actual site. Confronted with the enormity of 911 at the memorial, seeing the remembrance wall put up in memory of the brave firemen who perished, seeing footage of the WTC before 911 and most of all, reading the "Missing Persons" posters put up in the aftermath of 911 by frantic relatives – all these brought a lump to our throat that dinner later that night at Balthazar's couldn't quite dispel.

For some strange reason, I can't upload the rest of the photos I want in this post so will post that separately if I do get a chance.



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