« This never really gets old for me. | Main | Here's what I shouldn't have said »


eek. talk about spectacle.
in fairness i can think of valid reasons for people to go...out of town family of victims, for instance...but their eyes likely wouldn't lite-brite at the mention of footwear.

Oh, I understand wanting to see it too. I was just cranky when I posted this. I certainly don't "own" Sept. 11 or "Ground Zero" more than anyone else. I just wonder, if everybody's so fascinated by tragedy, why don't more people want to go to New Orleans?

The academic term for this is thanatourism. Vacation itineraries are full of places where people died. Cemetaries, battlefields, prisons, churches, etc. People do it for various reasons: pilgramage, morbid curiosity, remembrance, empathy, validation, self-discovery, etc.

I learned this word after my husband did research on the sleepy Greek island we visited this summer. I thought the ruins were from neglect. He went in search of the facts and found out Nazi bombs made the ruins.

You breathed 9/11, I watched it. Us Midwesterners saw it live on TV. It pre-empted Oprah.

What we should be angry at is our government's response. How are we the best country and society ever and our response is anger, ignorance, and torture? Be angry because we aren't honoring the dead with choosing peace over war.

no no, of course i didn't mean to imply that you're claiming to own it. i know whatcha meant. totally understandable.
i believe i heard, though, that over half a million people had gone to n.o. to help out...the tourist set won't show up till it's nicey nice redone i imagine.

I was with Joe in the bookstore the other day and there was a graphic novel or some such about . . .

Anyway, I started to open it and my hand just froze. "It's too soon," I said. Joe didn't say anything. He knows when it is best to just let me have silence.

I wasn't even there and I am still affected. I don't understand why anyone would want to visit the location. Then again, I went to where they found my friend's body, or as close to the place as I could go because they still have police tape, etc., marking off the area. I sat far enough away not to attract attention from the media who were still there. Sat and tried to call anyone who would just let me talk to them. I needed some human connection.

Nobody answered their phone.

Maybe that is all it is . . . a need to connect with something. Only connect, as Forster suggested. I don't know. I could be wrong. I probably am.

I love your honesty.

Yeah, I never quite got how people decided to co-opt the pain of these particular strangers, yet choose to completely ignore, say, the millions of Darfurian refugees. it's certainly not numerical. More people have been slashed in Darfur than died in 9/11, but no one is going *there* to take photos and sniffle, "Oh, how could anyone do something like this?" One stranger's tragic death is as good as anothers, right? Right? Or... apparently not, you know, if you're African.

But nothing has ever summed it up better than this:

My God, can't midwesterners find some sommon sense in the world! Every time I see pics of the World Trade Center going down I cry my ass off remembering all those poor people who did and didn't survive.

Two things:

1. Most New Yorkers just LOVE to give directions. Why are we like that? I, too, pride myself on knowing and providing the absolute best routes around the city.


2. Did I ever tell you about the time I got hailed by some rich people in fur coats two winters ago down by Ground Zero? It was icy out and there were five of them and I told them I couldn't legally and safely put them all in my cab (the passenger limit is four, and I won't break that rule when there's ice on the streets 'cause it's too hard to stop with that much weight). So these people, who were "doing Ground Zero" as part of their vacation itinerary, actually yelled and cursed at me for refusing to take them back up to the Plaza Hotel, saying, "Well, YOU'RE just a cab driver!" 'Cause apparently that makes me some low-life piece of shit.

So much for fucking empathy. Seems like certain tourists like New Yorkers dead better than alive.

Maybe we weren't on the ground when it happened, but we lost people we knew, too. And it had a hell of an impact on all of us. I stopped at the Pentagon and looked at where the plane crashed. Why? Not for morbid curiosity, but to remind myself why I have served in the armed forces for 13 years and will continue to do so. And also to honor those who died there. A piece of all of us died that day, no matter where we were on the planet.

Girlbomb: I, for one want to go to New Orleans.

And if I ever make it to Poland, I'll be checking out some grim stuff there too.

I guess I'm one of those kind of tourists.

Seeing the place makes it real for me. Seeing it on TV is too much like a movie. Too easy to turn it off.

But the shoes thing? Freaky.

My brother visited in December '01 in order to see the site. We spent a whole afternoon there, walking around, smelling, remembering.

NY Historical Society is putting on a 9/11 exhibition, with that sealed room from the jeans store that was across the street. You know the one, with the ash-covered merchandise?

Why do we cling onto trauma? What does it teach us?

Was that graphic novel the Art Spiegelman one? If so, that guy was there. I think he had to draw that book the way you had to visit the police-tape site.

I will admit to having been one of those types of thanotourists. In 2000, I had spent a summer at an internship in New York (and just loved it when people asked for directions from me, as if I actually looked like I knew where I was going). Of course, I saw all of the touristy things including the twin towers.

A year later, when I saw the planes hit the towers, watching a tiny t.v., with bad reception, and then again and again and again for months afterward, the event seemed unreal. I had seen the place. Now, it was not there, and all of those people were gone. How does a simple, human mind wrap itself around that? The t.v. screen does odd things to your sense of reality.

About six months after 9/11, I went on a second trip to New York. Going to Ground Zero seemed kind of sick and disrespectful. Still, I was drawn downtown in that direction, so I admitted that I was a sick freak and went.

Visiting Ground Zero made the event profoundly, grimly real, not something that I knew abstractly. Real. Devastating. All of those people gone. I wanted to grab someone, anyone, and cry.

Instead of mourning, I saw people selling pictures of the event. I saw tourists getting their own pictures taken, with those big, goofy, dumb, “I’m on vacation and loving it!” smiles on their faces, with the site in the background as if it were the Statue of Liberty. I wanted to punch them all. I wanted to grab their pictures and cameras and shreik at them “this is NOT Disneyland, you assholes! This is a grave! A gigantic, mass grave!”

There are reasons to visit places of tragedy, but not as a tourist. People should go with respect, to remember what happened, and to know it as real (unless, of course, you lived through it, then it is far too real for you). I hope those two women had some epiphany, some understanding, and didn't go away saying "oh, look, a sale on shoes!"

Sorry to make the post so long (even with editing). Edit more, if you must.

Oh, and p.s.: I'm in the middle of _Girlbomb_ and can't stop reading.

Siobhan, thanks for your comment. Thank everybody else, too. I tried to reply by email, but it bounced back. As noted above, I was in a shitty mood when I wrote the post, and should not have tried to tell anybody that they didn't have a right to visit a memorial site that might mean a tremendous amount to them personally. I'd edit the thing, but I'd rather let my mistake stand, so everyone can see it.

I totally understand the impulse to honor the victims of a tragedy by visiting the site where they died. I just wish the tourists who visit the WTC site would be a little more sensitive to those of us for whom it is, as they say, "too soon!"

And I always send people to Century 21 when giving them directions to WTC. I feel like they're bound to be disappointed, if not downright depressed, and why not give them something nice to ameliorate that? Plus, come on, the place is a supah-bawgain.

(Hi again, Clio! Glad you're liking the book. I'm going to have to stop in and say hi to you in person sometime.)

Like Tim Robbins likes to remind us, G.W.'s big advice to the mourning nation post-tragedy was, in so many words, "go shopping."

To keep our economy alive, of course... I need new loafers, anyway.

You are absolutely right that the WTC should not be seen as a tourist attraction. I also wanted to tell you how much I liked your book -- and have enjoyed your blog.

Thank you. You expressed the way I feel about tourism at WTC so much better than I could. I forced myself to go to Canal St. and TriBeca when they were having those "Support the Neighborhood Vendors" weekends and was horrified to see people taking pictures and other touristy things.

So I did start screaming at them. And they had no idea why I was yelling things like "open grave" and "coming to your funeral with a fucking camera" as my friend yanked me back uptown.

Every time this subject comes up, I get some mild-mannered response; like "everyone grieves in their own way" or "people feel a connection to this tragedy." But what are they going to do with the pictures? Print them out and stick 'em on the 'fridge?

I think you're being too harsh. People go to visit the places where things happened which affected them -- whether the effect was direct or indirect, happy or painful. People who want to see the site where the World Trade Center used to stand were hurt by its destruction, even if they weren't physically present when it happened. I plan to go pay my respects at Auchwitz if I'm ever in the area, and I hope you won't be as cranky at me for doing so.

Janice, glad you're leaving the post up, but you didn't make a mistake.

Ach, Naomi, I can only acknowledge my harshness a third time, and ask everyone's forebearance with my hot temper, which I endeavor to manage in public.

And Kyria, maybe "mistake" was the wrong word. "Rush to judgment," perhaps?

Janice: I posted the comment before seeing the rest of them -- meaning that I, too, rushed to judgment, if not ahead of my compassion then at least ahead of my technology.

I totally get your reaction - i feel the same way when i get calls and emails from people asking me for 'b roll' of 9/11 (you know, it's just footage). Worse yet, when people call and ask for video of 'jumpers'.

I do feel like i have a right to hold the feelings of 9/11 close, but then again - it's hard to judge what motives or feelings others have.

for example, when we posted clips on Google video, millions of people went to look at them. Why? what are they looking for? Truth?

But we don't get to ask why people are watching the clips - we just let them and hope it serves some postive purpose.


Our answer was to put the work we did out there for everyone, for free.

Not sure why. Just tyring to find some energy other than anger.

If people are using 9/11 to justify evil political actions- then they're going to do that anyway.

Wait...there's energy besides anger?

When...when did they invent that?

Seriously, Steve, your Sept. 11 documentary was great. And then there's Oliver Stone's movie. There's a difference, you know?

Girlbomb, when they aired the Concert for New York in 01, and they did they ads that showed people from all over the country declaring, I am a New Yorker, and I mean fat and thin and male and female and rich poor urban rural...were you pissed off about it? I feel kind of like the country really reached out to New Yorkers, and in return, now, we're getting this attitude about how we don't get it or we shouldn't visit the site or whatever. I get very frustrated on message boards where New Yorkers get pissy about the way others react/pay homage to 9-11. Personally, my first visit to NYC after 9-11, I felt it very important to visit the site and acknowledge it. I went to the bar at the top for one of my first cocktails in the early 80s, possibly when you were at the shelter or hanging out with your friends...My husband worked there, at least did business there a lot. When we tried to find it, it was so different and weird and our landmarks were off. I hate to think we were somehow rude or bumpkinish, but I also kind of think screw you if you think we were, ya know?

Amy, apparently I can not apologize enough for offending people -- I've done it three times, but I don't think I can muster a fourth. I don't know what to say anymore.

The truth is, every tragedy is a unique experience for those who witnessed it first-hand. Which doesn't negate the experience of others who deeply feel its effects. But as horrified and saddened as I was by what happened in New Orleans last summer, no way was I affected as personally as the actual residents of the city were. And I'm horrified and saddened by the war in Iraq, but my horror and sadness are not comparable to those of the Iraqis and soldiers who are present for it. Same for the tsunami. It's just not the same unless you were there. People detatched from the situation were affected, but not in the same physical, visceral way -- they didn't breathe that horrible air, they weren't bodily immersed in the communal grief. I have no idea what Thailand or Sri Lanka was like after the tsunami from the news footage -- what it smelled like, the enormity of the loss. I feel terrible sadness at the footage, but I can't know what the residents experienced. And if I went to Sri Lanka, you can bet I'd tread very carefully around the subject.

Those "I'm a New Yorker" commercials were wrong. I can certainly empathize and feel for people who have been first-hand witnesses to large-scale disaster; I can care and reach out and write checks with the best of 'em. But I'm not an Iraqi, nor am I a New Orleansean. I'm also not African-American, differently-abled, or dying of cancer. I can be affected by racism, or disease, but I don't know what it's like from the inside.

I AM a New Yorker, and I am frankly sick of rude bumpkins. I'm unfailingly polite and helpful to them -- I've certainly never told anyone "screw you," not even with my attitude -- but I have a right to express my frustration with what I perceive as some people's shallowness or disrespect. I've backed off the harshness of my original post, but my underlying complaint remains. For many people who were here when it happened, it's still too soon. Too soon for the "I went to Ground Zero" t-shirts, too soon for the cheesy movies, and too soon for SOME -- not all, but SOME -- people to act like it's just another stop on the tour bus.

I don't think you have to apologize; I think it's an interesting conversation and I'm just trying to bring to it my perspective. I'm a native Midwesterner, I live across the country from you now. I will admit to being sensitive to comments that disparage Midwesterners because they are so flipping snobby and assume so much. And yet in spite of my non-New Yorker status, I knew people who died in those towers. My friends knew people on the planes, got those calls. It's a mistake to think you had to breathe the air to be part of the communal grief. I wouldn't claim to know what it was like to be there, but being far away and helpless and having your country under attack and people unaccounted for, that was horrible. I think it's kind of interesting you hated those commercials. They were used as fund-raising ads, and it worked. Lots of money went to the victims' families. And that's a whole other conversation, how much money went to families and how they spent it, and you're right, it does draw a comparison to where we are with Katrina relief. Is it because people wanted to give to New Yorkers because the victims were heros and white businessmen, and the Katrina victims are poor and black?

GB, I understands your post completely. And I don't see why you should need to apologize for venting and expressing your feelings.

I am from Oklahoma. The Murrah bombing happened not too far away from my university. Many of my friends heard the explosion. Some of my friends lost relatives and other loved ones. But most of us have not visited the memorial. People from all around the world have traveled to OKC and walked around the chairs that represent each of the people who were killed. But I just can't do it. It's already real for me. It's a part of my identity.

In the years after the OKC bombing, I traveled around a bit. I went to New York City, England, Scotland, France. People always asked "Where are you from?" And when I said, "Oklahoma", their next question was *always* about the bombing in OKC. Always always always. Even the New Yorkers did it. And it was so stressful! I mean, here I was on vacation, trying to enjoy myself, and people are asking me about dead babies! So I give them a bit of what they want. I tell them about one of my best friends who was pulling out of the building's parking lot when the bomb went off. I tell about the man I know who only survived because he went down the hall to grab a cup of coffee. I don't talk about the dead for some reason. But I came to accept the questioning. I realized that the bombing was a part of me now. It became a part of my identity. Oddly enough, people in other places don't ask me about the Murrah bombing anymore ... not since 9/11.

The events on 9/11 shocked me and scared me to the bone. I have friends in New York - one of whom went missing for a couple of days. So many of us all over the country were terrified.

But I watched the events unfold on television. Experiencing it in person? That's a whole other matter.

The events of that day (and the weeks and months to follow) were agonizingly real for you. They continue to be so. And you're constantly reminded of it, either by Hollywood or tourists or just that vast, empty space in the skyline.

I think that the thing most of these tourist are hoping to gain is a sense of empathy. They want to feel some of what you're feeling. They want to acknowledge the reality of this horrific event. They want to honor the dead. I think the thing that has brought out this emotional exhaustion in you is part of what these people are looking for. Just watching the events on TV - even with the horror it brought to us all - still made the event seem unreal. People need to see it in person so that their minds might be able to fully grasp the events that took place.

In the years since the OKC bombing, I've driven past the memorial many times. I've never stopped by. Still haven't visited it. But the next time I am in NYC, I think I *will* visit the location of the Twin Towers. A part of my soul needs it.

Inappropriate though it may be, I think this story underscores an important point. A good friend of mine is a licensed tour guide here in NYC. He guides from the top of those obnoxious double-decker buses. And he has a wacky sense of humor. So, when people get on the bus on 7th Ave in the 50's, the first thing they ask for is Ground Zero. Not the WTC, not the twin towers, they're asking for Ground Zero. You know, the brand name for that specific tragedy. Instead of sending them to White Sands New Mexico, he offers to show it to them, and they can get out if they want when the bus gets there. It takes almost an hour for the bus to get all the way downtown, so if they're impatient, he shows them a construction site. That's Ground Zero, folks - get your cameras out! The friggin' tourist rubes don't know the difference, and they don't really care. It's just important to see, because you have to tell your friends back home that you saw it. It'd be like not seeing the Epcot Center or missing the Golden Gate Bridge. Hence all the vendors selling pictures and FDNY ball caps. Most tourists looking for Ground Zero aren't looking for some anchor for their personal pain. They're looking for the picture they can show their friends back home. And a friggin' tee shirt.

Again, I'm not trying to one-up anybody or put myself closer to the grief than anyone else. Lots of people knew people in the Towers, including me and Bill; lots of people got phone calls that day; lots of people felt grief. I'm not trying to deny anybody their grief. It's palpably real. And I'm glad those "I am a New Yorker" commercials raised money -- I guess I should kiss anybody's ass who wrote a check, and I should expect tsunami/New Orleans survivors to kiss mine. But Gwynth Paltrow is not a fucking African, no matter what the ad says. She may feel the grief from across the globe, but she's presuming alot when she paints two stripes on her face and calls herself one. No matter how much money the ad raises, the consciousness it raises is false.

what a great thread! I'll throw in my 9/11 reminiscence-thoughts; salon.com asked me to report on The Events, so I snuck over to the site from Brooklyn in a tow truck through the unlit Battery Tunnel. (Having a task was nice; I really didn't know what to do with myself that day after they turned down my blood at the hospital.) On the Manhattan side of the tunnel, the driver hitched up a car to take back to Brooklyn (doesn't seem that urgent an errand, but he was the only type of vehicle allowed over besides police and fire). Meanwhile, I wandered as close to the site as the cops in their riot gear would let me, over the shredded office paper and worse, the sky prematurely dark at 5 pm from smoke.

I'd never been in a fresh war zone before, and I didn't feel like a New Yorker -- the opposite. I felt like an Israeli, a Palestinian, a Bosnian, a Rwandan, a Kurd, like anyone anywhwere human beings are walking to work or the store or to meet a friend and get blown to bits in someone else's fight.

I felt that connection to other victims of war so strongly I was shocked that 95 percent of the U.S. wanted to bomb Afghanistan the next day. I was like, "No, wait, go stand in Ground Zero, you really won't wish that on anyone once you feel that sad waste of all that pointless death -- you won't want to add to it, ever, anywhere."

So not everyone goes for the same reason and not everyone will have my same peacenik reaction, but I think overall people are trying to gain empathy or learn something when they visit the site of a tragedy.

Imagine there's no countries, man.

Janice, I'll totally kiss your ass for writing checks to tsunami and Katrina victims.

I think, ultimately, it's about class and decorum. Everyone wears clothes, not everyone does it with style. Some people are just tacky, even at a mass grave.

kyria, i came down here to the bottom to comment on your question about why this and not darfur only to be impressed by your wisdom in the above post. precisely.

as for darfur...perhaps people's reaction will depend on how the identify. if they identify as american, then the twin towers will resonate more because it was a blow to their american identity and therefore personal. if they identify as human, darfur would resonate on that basis. but if they do not see themselves in that tragedy because the colors or the geography or the class involved, because it feels foreign, then the level of personal investment (or lack thereof) will reflect that.

gb, there are so few interesting and real conversations in the world (or certain suburban stretches of it), why on earth should you apologize for instigating one. not only is that your job, it is your unique gift. i understand wanting to be sensitive, but i also know that you are. the pearls of wisdom in this thread should be considered rosary beads said in penance.

Ground Zero? It's that big fucking hole in the ground where I worked from 1990 to 1994. The one surrounded by the conspiracy theorists, tchocke salesmen and all sorts of people from around the world trying to make 9/11 real to themselves. I don't begrudge them their feelings at all. It was even nice to know that the rest of this country might even give a shit about New Yorkers. I DO wish it wouldn't be fetishized as much as it has.

Too bad the citizens of Pompei can't weigh in on this issue.

life was easier when people were only asking how to get to sesame street.

I am a Midwesterner who just visited New York to see the Statue of Liberty and, ambivalently, went by the WTC site as well. I think GB's essay was articulate, passionate, beautiful, made me feel guilty for a minute but then, she was just expressing her feelings at that moment - her legitimate, mournful, rageful feelings. I hope I visited respectfully. I felt quiet, contemplative, touched a bit of the ground I could reach, said a short prayer for all the victims and the surviving New Yorkers who remember that terrible day, and did not take a picture. I remembered happening to be watching tv on that morning when the news bulletin broke and the news guy was standing there with the WTC in the background and literally seeing the 2nd plane flying too low on live television and thinking "What the hell?" before it struck. It's my memory too. I would've been fine if I hadn't made it there, but I was able to, and I hope I honored it. But I'm not a New Yorker and you can feel and say whatever the hell you need to to deal with your pain.

So THAT'S how you spell "tchocke."

Glowlita - thanks. I think I have been kind of omnipresent on this thread because I wrote a similar blog post on the 1st anniversary of 9/11, and I'm still upset by the responses I received that day. My readers weren't nearly as well-mannered as Janice's are, but the thoughts were similar. I can't say I've made sense of the responses I received, even in the years since, but this post helped me understand it a bit better.

I just wanted to post something to try and pry yet another apology out of you and into this thread... I mean... ;)

Below is the only part of the post I was originally going to post. I’m feeling too neurotic to post it up, for some reason it is just never going to be good enough in my mind to post. Ugh, it was going to cover the whole where’s Ground Zero, and giving directions.

*****My apologies for excessive use of “quotation marks”.******

I’ll go crawl back into my whole, embarrassed for posting this one.

Up front, let me just say I'm a post-9/11 NYC transplant, now in Brooklyn. So my attitude on the matter is mostly a matter of osmosis.

I think a lot of the possessiveness NYC folks feel is a sort of "not in our name" reaction that has roots in feeling like the event is used to justify the country going completely off the rails in the past 5 years.

Kind of an accident that I ended up on this page, but I noticed your writing. I know it must be very irksome to have all sorts of strangers asking to see Ground Zero, oftentimes out of morbid curiousity, but even those of us so many miles away in Indiana did cry with you, and we still do. No, we were right next door to the horror of it, but I watched the second plane hit from my seventh grade classroom in Klondike Middle school. No, maybe it wasn't our direct family members, but we love New Yorkers. And your our family. So I do apoligize for all those of us who have made things difficult for you by gawking at that horrible site. But please forgive our slowness, our wanting to pay respects, and to remember those dear ones who were taken.
With much love and corn from Indiana, Emilie Elyse Blythe.

Hey J. Just trolling through some of your old posts, and this one kinda stood out. Dude ... we NYers totally own that charred crater a.k.a Ground Zero.

Just kidding. I'm reminded of a few things here:

i. Thomas de Zengotita's essay in Harper's years ago, that was developed into his book, MEDIATED, "The Numbing of the American Mind," which talks about our post-911 cultural hangover.

ii. A weird photo that was taken in Brooklyn on that day, of these hipsters kinda just lounging across the river; backdrop: smoke emanating from the towers. Frank Rich wrote about it, and Gawker even did a parody, or there was a caption contest. Something. This: "Does It Smell Like Smoked Mozarella Out Here, Or Is It Just Me?" Then one of the people in the photo wrote back on Slate: "It's Me in that 9/11 Photo". Anyway, fascinating reading.

I work about 5 blocks from Ground Zero and used to walk by it everyday. Right after 9/11 I took these photographs of the sky, just like, that absence all over the city, where you used to have a view of the towers. It's strange cause all these little nooks in lower Manhattan, that never saw daylight cause've the towers' shadow, are suddenly noticeable in the morning. Bizarre.

Anyway, I dug this. Thanks.

P.S. I added HTML to this comment as links to those writings above, but I guess they were eaten. Oh well. Damn the Internet.

When my Husband & I were looking for a place to honeymoon in 2006 we chose New Orleans.
We didn't go to gawk at the ruins of the 9th ward, we went to offer our tourist $$ to a wonderful city who needed a hand.

We watched CNN, (yes, we get CNN up here in Canada) we saw how Katrina took & destroyed lives. We didn't need to see it first hand.

We visited museums & galleries and ate awesome food & listened to amazing music.
Do our friends want to hear about the beautiful architecture of the French Quarter, the awesome live bands or the yummy oysters & crawfish...nope, all they are interested in is the mess Katrina made.
People are fucked.

We went back this past Halloween.
We've already made plans to go again this year...our third in a row.
Come join us! It gets better & better every year!

I know why they wanted to go. For completion. I used to jog past the Trade Center everyday and missed on 911 because I was too tired to get up. I thought I was a lazy bum and castigated myself untill 9 AM when I turned on the tv. I used to love to hang out at the Trade Center and go to the restaurants and have some soup and look in the stores and buy cheap theater tickets where no one else knew there was a place. After I finally went to see it about 2 months later the window of Borders Books was still there and there were books in there that hadn't been burned. It was freaky.
But what also happened around 911 was that people came together in candle lit ceremonies reminiscent of the 60s New York turned into a bunch of hippies for a while and it seemed as though we would all turn into a tribal love-rock community for a while but it didn't last. Real estate went back up and the government tried to deny health benifits to first responders who helped for free and wound up with cancer. Guiliani claimed credit for being America's Mayor when all he really did was grandstand and might have known ahead of time that something was going to happen because he built himself a bomb proof bunker in thee
Trad Center a couple of years before. We turned into same-old as usual. But for a while 911 was America's tragedy. It changed us for the better at first and ultimately for the worst since it gave Bush an excuse to go to was against Iraq and funnel a huge amount of the country"s money and resources to his oil and mercenary cronies.
We have a sense of entitlement about what we can expect in this country I never expected cassons with soldiers in uniform with machine guns to be riding down 6th Avenue past the Waverley theater. We think it could never happen here.

I was 17 years old when 9/11 happened, I didn't have any family or friends involved, but I am a part of this country and to this day I cannot imagine how any of the people that experienced this tragedy felt...but everyone that is a human being and has feelings is entitled and should mourn the victims and the families and friends of the victims. At a young and immature age of 17 I watched the television and cried knowing that I was going home to my family, and just 2 states away thousands of children were going home to one or no parents, husbands and wives lost, brothers and sisters gone, and friends just a memory. I have thought about 9/11 at least once a day since then. I have gone to see "Ground Zero" and it sounds morbid in a way I guess, to the people who were more "personally" affected by that day, because it was more than just a day to those who lost someone. Now I'm 24 years old I understand a little bit more about the world, but I still don't understand the reasoning behind that day, and I don't think anyone ever will or ever could. It was a day that I will always remember, and when I go to "Ground Zero" it's not just a tourist attraction it is a memory of all the people who didn't choose to go to work that day, who had to so they could provide a better life for their families, the people who had pictures of their kids on their desks, and the people who died for our country without signing up for it. I will continue to visit "Ground Zero" as I grow older, and everytime I do I will remember and feel for those who lost their lives, and those who lost someone that day.

you're being ridiculous

As a tourist visiting new York I only want to be at ground zero to remember, to show respect to those who lost there life.
This place is a mark in history that also effects my life as a visitor from the Netherlands.
For me it is a place to think, quietly, a place like the graves of my beloved ones, a place to ...

Taking pictures is no option at all, this place is not Times Square and it is not Broadway.

I am from Portland, Oregon. How dare you say that Ground Zero is not mine. I wept just as hard as any New Yorker did. The people that died in that tragic event were my fellow brothers and sisters too. Our city stood in silence watching - not being able to comprehend what was happening. We Oregonians cried and mourned just as much as you did. And because of this tragic event your city had become economically challenged with no tourists. The Mayor of Portland chartered two airplanes that were full, and headed for New York City - just to shop and spend money. And other cities followed. I am heading for New York City next month with my 16 year old granddaughter and we will visit Ground Zero to pay our respects. I am not going to see where people died, I am going to remember something so horrific that I don't forget it and so that my granddaughter won't forget it either. Ground Zero will have my respect, my sympathy, and my love. And when I am in New York, I will remember not to stop suddenly on the sidewalk and piss off any New Yorkers while looking at directions on a map. I was told that most New Yorkers are friendly and are willing to help you with directions. I hope I don't run into you when I ask for directions to Ground Zero.

Have you ever strapped on body armor and a kevlar helmet? Locked and loaded your M16? Mounted a .50 caliber machine gun on top of a HMMV? Went intentionally looking for IED's? I think I have every right as an AMERICAN to go to Ground Zero and pay my respects. Just because I was not there the day it happened, does in no way mean that it did not affect me in a very profound way.

The comments to this entry are closed.