I’ll share one post-9/11 memory.

While the fires were still burning down there (100 days), the authorities decided to demolish the buildings left standing. One day, I walked down that way and heard a bong bong bong. The street was blocked off at the end, but I could clearly see a big wrecking ball banging on the girders of WTC 5, the lowrise building on the corner across from the post office. It had held the large Borders bookstore that I visited many times during lunch hour. Walter Cronkite was one of the several celebrities I had seen sign books on the second floor. Bong bong bong, like the tolling of a large, deep bell–while FDNY hosed down the girders and burning remains of thousands of books and papers, the foreign newspapers of the world. It was the end of that world, in those 16-acres so brutally destroyed, the end of an era of relative innocence in the city. Now we had tasted mega death and had smelled cooking human flesh. Any notion of rebuilding was far into the future that day as I watched WTC 5 become a memory.

By Hudson Owen

Comment in response to The Side of Ground Zero That Obama Didn’t See by Elizabeth Greenspan, in the May 5, 2011 The Atlantic.

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