03 November 2009

U. S. S. New York

I read about the arrival of the USS New York, with its tons of steel taken from the rubble of the World Trade Center, with mixed feelings.

I remember the morning, the second plane crash causing a wrenching shift in significance as everyone realized it was no accident: the city had been attacked. I remember the eerie quiet of the day as all ground and air traffic came to a halt. The streaming columns of people leaving Manhattan on foot. The attempts to contact friends and family as the city's tallest cellular transmitter had disappeared and land lines (and with them, internet service -- remember dialup?) clogged.

My mother was a war refugee as a child. On this day, she was aghast at the idea that her daughter, first-born child, brought to America to escape Europe's war ghosts, was living less than two miles from what was happening.

I was not among those who lost friends or family, though there were close calls. I can only imagine the horror and the grief for those who did.

I remember the day after, and the day after that, and the days that followed. The smoke clung to the city, hung over it, permeated doors and windows. Strangers were friendly. We sought to establish a "new normal."

The idea that the towers are back in the city today as part of the USS New York is comforting and exciting. I'm hoping to be able to go over and see the ship.

But I'm also uncomfortable about this: it's a war ship.

What if that metal from the downed towers had been used to create a ship of peace?