It was a very emotional day at Ground Zero for me and my friends yesterday. But before I get into the day, I have to comment on something.
As Dennis Miller used to say, "I don't want to get off on a rant here...," but I think I will.
Count me in as one of those who find this Derek Jeter Genuflecting to be really sickening. Last night, Eyewitness News here in New York actually led off their 11 PM news with Jeter's Yankee hit record. And both of New York's tabloid papers have it all over the front pages today. (And as my friend Adam pointed out this morning to put it in perspective, Jeter is now 52nd all-time in hits, just ahead of Rusty Staub.) At least Newsday, based on Long Island, dedicated their front page and their first four pages to yesterday's remembrance.
Sorry, but what happened in Lower Manhattan eclipses that and most anything else yesterday. Yes, I maybe totally biased on this, but Jeter's record (And could any Yankee fan tell what the team record was before this season and who held it? I bet few could.) is NO WAY more of an important story than the 8th anniversary of the worst day in this city's history. Shameful.
Sorry, I had to get that crap off my chest. Now on to the real story of this post.
It was a lousy, miserable day in New York on Friday. I prayed the weather would hold, as it did the two previous days. But I woke up to a steady rain. I met my friend Deborah at her apartment, and we went with a friend of hers from her building. We arrived on Broadway and Cortlandt Street just after 7:30 AM, and we took out our framed pictures of out friend Joyce. A reporter noticed us, and we chatted with her. Then all of a sudden, about 6 or 7 of them descended on us, and we spent the next few minutes talking about our friend, the state of Ground Zero, and why we were there.
We proceeded down Liberty Street, and a number of photgraphers saw us and began taking pictures. They asked us about Joyce, and we were quoted in today's Bergen Record. (Check on the last two paragraphs.) The pictures of her are so beautiful, and instantly attract anyone who sees them.
The crowds were definitely down, because of the rain. But so many braved it, and that was heartening to see. We heard our friend's name at about 9:20, and we proceeded into the site shortly before 10. This year, they placed a circle in a portion of the site that has been built upon, just off West Street where the memorial will be. Loved ones placed roses into the circle, which was filled with water.
It was another walk on sacred ground, where the worst atrocity in New York's history occurred. It was really emotional being in there again, but I was proud to have done it. We spent about a half hour in there, and then went to the Tribute Center on Liberty Street.
It was a long day, as every September 11th is for me. The day always has a different feel for me than any other day of the year. It was a Friday, but absolutely didn't feel like one.
We went to lunch, and then to the preview of the 9/11 Memorial, on Vesey Street, across from St. Paul's Chapel. It was really nice and I enjoyed being there. The day finally concluded shortly after 5 PM. (I was sad not to see "The Tribute in Light," the two blue beams of light shown in the sky from Lower Manhattan, but the fog and bad weather prevented that.)
I was really exhausted when it was all over, and I'm glad I got through another anniversary. But there was no other place in the world I could have been yesterday. It's an obligation for me to be there, and every anniversary for the rest of my life I will be there.
For Joyce, and for all the victims of the worst day in our history.