7 Years Later - Silence in New York City

The anniversary of 9/11 never ceases to evoke strong feelings here in NYC. I had hoped that the years would heal these wounds - but they have not.

I ride the E Train to work every morning. This is the one subway line that has the World Trade Center as its final stop. The train today had small pockets of people carrying photos of loved ones, dressed in their best clothes, as they were apparently on their way to ground zero for the anniversary.

There is never really very much conversation on the trains in the morning. This is afterall the most highly populated yet most lonely city in the world. But, this morning the silence seemed deafening, as we shared a subway car with family members holding large photos of their loved ones that stared back at us with faces that look so much like our own. Ordinary people with ordinary faces, snapshots from the past, in happier times - just like any of us - cut short in their prime - no chance to say goodbye or bring their loved ones to closure.

The void that these photos opened on the E Train drowned out everything else. The clatter of the train bouncing along on steel wheels on bumpy steel tracks - the screaching of brakes - were all somehow drowned out and silenced by the image of a little girl in her 'good dress' holding a photo of a woman that must assuredly must have taken a piece of this child's heart with her when she left - against her will - no more able to protect her child from the brutality of that day than she was able to protect herself - 7 years ago when her little girl was at her most fragile .

7 years. And the tragedy continues to reverberate in people's lives.

7 years ago when my wife and i sat on a NYC curb, after having withdrawn money from an ATM (in a panic), and witnessed the 2nd tower crumbling to the ground - we balled our eyes out like children unable to understand and take in the tragedy we had just seen. It was simply too big to absorb. These landmarks that had sparkled and defined the NYC skylines had followed us on countless nights, as we strolled the streets, peeking out from behind other buildings, popping up when we turned corners, ever-present and solid reminders that we lived in a civilized and safe part of the world, simply exploded before our eyes while the streets filled with the screams of the unspoken horror that we all knew in our hearts - those buildings were most assuredly still filled with people - and surrounded by police and firemen.

we walked home, as the subways were all shut down, crossing the bridge into queens, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of people, all with the same blank expressions on their faces. empty faces. deafening silence.

7 years and that deafening silence was back on the E Train this morning - a testament to the fact that what was lost on that day is gone forever.