September 11, 2006

THE COLOR OF THE SKY

My high school English teacher burned the first sentence of the Stephen Crane story "The Open Boat" into our brains: "None of them knew the color of the sky." I always think of this story whenever I think of 9/11 because everyone knows the color of the sky on September 11, 2001. It's usually one of the first things a New Yorker will mention.

For many Americans, 9/11 was immediate. But for some of us, busy with grad school 825 miles west of the World Trade Center, 9/11 took a while to sink in. The lessons were slow in coming for someone who had never been to NYC. I'm ashamed now of how self-centered my life seemed back then, when nothing mattered except getting to class on time.

For most Americans, 9/11 is still not over. For some families, the loss of a loved one will never stop hurting. For those who walk around NYC, the empty sky where the WTC stood will always be obvious. For some, the consequences of 9/11 are subtle but very real: the volunteers who are slowly dying from the death they inhaled that day, the children who are growing up without a parent, and the people who survived the WTC, only to be filled with guilt and anguish over living. My cousin survived the fall of the Towers, waking up in a coma weeks later. She's only now starting to put the pieces of her life back together. The effects are subtle indeed.

And for those of us who only knew about 9/11 from the TV or papers, those of us who woke up to The Way The World Is after those attacks, life will never again be about just getting to class on time.

Today, five years later, I wonder what the color of the sky is over New York City.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:00 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 After rain and clouds early this morning...the sky is as blue today as it was that morning 5 years ago. I'm 2 hours away from New York, and what you mentioned IS the thing I remember the most. That is was a beautiful day. A perfect fall morning. I remember that, and then later...the silence of no air traffic going over my house.

Posted by: Mare at September 11, 2006 05:51 AM (xamKk)

2 The color of the sky in NYC is "Red, White and Blue"

Posted by: Angie at September 11, 2006 02:19 PM (SA3c9)

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