The events of 9/11 are getting much better, more appropriate 20th anniversary tributes from people who were directly impacted by the atrocity (please don’t use the word “tragedy,” it doesn’t apply) like Large and his family than by the rest of us who only witnessed them play out on screens. No matter how impacted we’ve felt for the past two decades, relatively few of us can truly grasp the impact suffered by those who lost people they loved.
What we maybe can relate to more, has been the work done the World Trade Center since. Because we’ve all watched it play out in real time. The immediate rescue effort to find survivors s in the rubble. Which then became a recovery effort. Firefighters and police officers replaced by construction workers, heavy equipment operators and engineers to clear the steel and concrete. And then, the rebuild.
I guess in some way, seeing 20 years of this massive undertaking condensed into a brief time lapse video is profound. It’s a statement about the passage of time. And a representation of the indomitable nature of the human spirit. Yes, we are capable of acts of unfathomable destruction and cruelty. But it’s a much more powerful instinct in our nature to build. At our core, we are creators. Hardwired with an unquenchable drive to make great works that will outlive us.
And at times like 2001, that innate need to build is needed to create works of lasting beauty out of total devastation. A more limited-scale version of the way people of will in other centuries rebuilt Atlanta, Ypres, Dresden and Warsaw.
God bless the fallen, all who suffered and lost, and all the first responders who pulled off the greatest civilian rescue effort in history. And also to those whose work has created this living memorial amid the destruction. “A civilization truly becomes great when old men in whose shade they will never sit.”