“When I see the city from my window–no, I don’t feel how small I am–but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect those buildings with my body.”
– Gail Wynand, “The Fountainhead”
I did not know any of the people that were killed on September 11, 2001. I had heard of, or read about, or seen a very few of them, from friends, co-workers, or the media, but to the best of my knowledge, I had never met any of them. So while the loss of 3,000 people hurt like hell, it was, quite simply, incomprehensible. But it didn’t hurt in the same way as losing a relative or close friend. It wasn’t personal, not in the way that it was for any of the families or friends of those who died. It was too horrific to be personal, for me.
But I knew the World Trade Center towers. Everyone “knew” those two magnificent towers, whether they had visited New York City or not. That incredible skyline – dozens of majestic skyscrapers, seen all over the world, in pictures, movies, postcards, TV shows – represented America in many ways. Tall, strong, proud. And literally standing above them all, watching over their smaller siblings, the World Trade Center towers.
The New York City skyline is still inspiring and beautiful, of course. But I can’t look at post-9/11 images of the skyline without automatically looking for the twin towers, remembering in a split-second that they are gone, and feeling that deep and now-familiar pang of loss.
But they were there. They were. And we won’t forget that. Because what’s important is that they did stand tall and strong and proud. They did serve as a beacon. A symbol. And they still do.