9/11/09 — Gone with the rain
Jerry Mazza - Online Journal
September 18, 2009
It blew in like a hurricane from hell, pouring by 8 a.m. when the victims’ family members began reading off the names of their lost, often losing it themselves. Perhaps it was a rain of tears, a storm whipped up by a wind of fury that the ache of loss had not washed away with tears or the rain or the eight years passed since 9/11/01, on that loveliest of cloudless, sunny, cool fall mornings, accentuating the irony and pain of remembrance still more.
Of course, I remembered the earlier years of 9/11 when the church, the graveyard, the stones and iron fence were a grayish white, a ghost landscape thanks to the pyroplastic cloud of a million tons of concrete and poisons and god knew what else that settled on them, the earth, the surrounding streets, even as thousands of visitors flooded in from all over the world, some of them victims’ relatives, others simply there in sympathy, some in sheer curiosity at the devastation.
Physically, Ground Zero hadn’t changed that much since then. The only newly constructed completed building you could point to is, ironically, Larry Silverstein’s Tower Seven, a large thumb in your face that made you want to snap it off at its joint to cause that sonofabitch sitting up there a pain back in kind. I’d heard him earlier on Channel One TV, whining that he couldn’t get the full financing he needed to complete the projects of rebuilding that he so cannily had cornered. Perhaps it was his payback, above and beyond his $500 million insurance profit for Tower Seven alone that helped him put up his building so quickly.
One’s mind flashed over the usual 9/11 suspects as the wind and rain beat on your face and washed them away, cooling your simmering emotions. In fact, there among the gathering crowd of protestors was my friend John Uhlich from Chicago, standing with a poster of his 20-year old cousin who had been lost in Tower One. John, an engineer on the Union Pacific line, made this pilgrimage each year to honor his cousin, and to protest the infamy that brought that young life to its violent end. I had befriended John the previous year and shown him then the first copy of my new book State Of Shock – Poems from 9/11 on. He greeted me with a smile and firm handshake. We’d had dinner the night before and he brought a copy for me to sign.