I’ll always remember where I was at when I heard the news. I was in my car and remember hearing a report about a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but of course, that would quickly change. The road I was on, part of town I was in, time of day and weather are clear to me to this day.
I tried to get through with work as quickly as possible, and by noon I was home, taking in all of the mind blowing footage. I had a roommate at the time, and we were in front of the TV or on the telephone the entire night.
Clearly September 11th, 2001 is to my generation what the Kennedy Assassination was to my father’s, and Pearl Harbor was to my grandfather’s. An event that you remember vividly for the rest of your life. In just a few short years we will see a new generation come of age, with no memory of 9/11. They will only know it as a chapter in their history book.
This reminds me of a scene in the movie When Harry met Sally. Incidentally, one of the few romantic comedies I enjoy. Anyway, Harry is talking to his friend Jess about his romantic involvement with a much younger women. Harry tells him that he asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot. Her response to his query was, “Ted Kennedy was shot”?
One thing that has bothered me for quite a while is the difference in how the current generation has handled the rebuilding of the Trade Center, and how, I suspect, previous generations would have handled it.
The New York Daily News recently reported that the new tower (only one) will be completed and ready for use in the year 2018. No one ever accused me of being a world class mathematician, but by my count, that is 17 years after the original towers came crashing down. In fairness, others dispute this, and claim that the tower will be completed by 2013. Either way, my frustration stands.
The original World Trade Center, including both towers, took 6 years from groundbreaking to tenants moving in to the South Tower. It took a little over 9 years, if you start the clock from the time an architect was selected to design it. This time frame includes the purchasing of the land, settling with various dislocated business interests, and 14 months alone were spent building the necessary infrastructure to keep the Hudson River at bay.
The Empire State Building was completed in 410 days. Yeah, you read that right.
The Sears/Willis Tower was completed in under 4 years.
The Hoover Dam was built in 5 years. If you start the clock from Calvin Coolidge signing the bill to approve the project, it took 7.
I have a feeling that had 9/11/43 been the date of the attack, it wouldn’t have taken long for the U.S.A. to be looking at exact replicas of the towers as they stood before collapsing. Perhaps twin towers even taller, and more formidable than before.
Instead we get hand wringing over designs, arguments about memorials, obsessions with security, and bickering between various groups of bureaucrats.
Is this a sign of American decline? Is the “can do sprit”, and “anything is possible” ethos, that defined the U.S. for years, on its way out? Is American greatness and ingenuity gone for good?
I think the men that built the atom bomb, or who mobilized our decimated armed forces into battle in WWII, would look poorly on how tepid and weak willed many have become. The men that built the Empire State Building would be disgusted with this pathetic display.
Maybe I’m overreacting. Could be an aberration. After all, Las Vegas still pumps out those casinos in short order.