A tale of two cities

Having had my fill of the endless 9/11 coverage on television this past weekend, I was honestly looking forward to a quiet day at work when I arrived at my Middletown, NJ, train station this morning. That’s when I noticed preparations being made for a special 9/11 memorial observance.298rkf983_1

Thirty-seven Middletown commuters perished in the World Trade Center disaster, more than any other tri-state town or village. In recognition of the victims, the township has built a special park right next to the train station that contains plaques and photographs of each of the 37 fallen commuters. It’s tastefully done and sets just the right mood for peaceful reflection.

The town has also planned several special events today, including a moment of silence for the fallen commuters. Which got me thinking. Why doesn’t Manhattan have official "city-wide" moments of silence? Why doesn’t the country?

Obviously, there were memorials, tributes and docudramas throughout the weekend, but no official, widespread moments of silence. And, walking around Manhattan this morning, it seemed to be just another work day. In fact, Manhattan really is two cities when it comes to 9/11: there’s downtown and the Ground Zero area, and then there’s everywhere else.

Why doesn ‘t New York City (and the country) declare official 9/11 moments of silence, probably at 8:46 and 9:03? All work, school and other activities would come to a stop in honor of the nearly 3,000 fatalities.

It’s a delicate discussion topic to be sure, but wouldn’t everyone feel better about official moments of silence? I know I would. And, it would certainly help bring the "two cities" together on this critically important day.

5 thoughts on “A tale of two cities

  1. National holidays have morphed into three day weekends with endless inappropriate and/or irrelevant marketing ploys. The reason for any national holiday quickly gets lost in the sauce and I would actively work against declaring Sept. 11th a “holiday.” The silence idea is great- and appropriate- and could grow some serious international wings.

  2. The moment of silence is a great idea — not only in Manhattan but all over the country. My kids in their new schools in California were stunned that the schools didn’t pause for a moment of reflection. Probably some bizarre attempt at political correctness. I’ve even heard about a movement to have a so-called holiday or day of mourning. But anything is preferable to the nothing we experienced yesterday.

  3. Having just moved to New York this month, I was anticipating the reaction to the five year anniversary of 9/11 to be much different than what I would have experienced in my hometown in Connecticut, or even in Poughkeepsie where I went to school. I was even a little apprehensive about spending the day in the city, not knowing what to expect. But I was dissapointed that, like Dawn said, it was just like another work day. I was expecting a moment of silence or some other widespread memorial service. The only mention of 9/11 I heard all day (aside from the news) was the guy on the subway who declared that we should all take a moment to remember those lost on that date five years ago, and then proceeded to ask for change from fellow passengers.

  4. I was actually thinking about the moment of silence this morning. I thought to myself should I think a certain way, should I be doing something special.
    Thinking back to 5 years ago, I was in grad school in a small Indiana town and made my way home that wknd having to go through a number of rural towns. Many of them had firefighters collecting cash in their boots at intersections and every store had words of inspiration or hope on their signs. I knew then I should have photographed what it looked like and I really wish I had them now and to go back and see if anything was posted again.

  5. One of the most uplifting byproducts of the tragedy five years ago was the renewed patriotism and pride for our nation. For one fleeting moment, individual agendas were less important. Whether republican, democrat, stockbroker or firefighter, on September 11th and for several weeks after, there seemed to be awareness for a stronger tie that binds . . . we are AMERICAN, and proud for living that privilege.
    Five years later, where did all the flags go? Today’s blog couldn’t be closer to the truth. We are actually walking and living in the memorial, this great city, yet I wouldn’t know it. For those not immediately impacted, today was like any other work day. It’s scary how cavalierly we seem to take this privilege for granted.