Wednesday, September 11, 2002


Back from the Berkshires, which we bravely visited without computers, without cable, but not without coffee. Faith dug it big time; she and I swam and ran almost every day, which made me think it's about time to invent the dog and human biathlon. Hey, it'll be more fun to watch than the hot dog eating contest. I think.

So, yesterday, the day before the Day, I volunteered. This is what I did: (I am posting this from another e-mail list I am on);

Hi: I'm Martha, new to the list. I was a Brooklynite for 19 years, and then moved to Hoboken, over the river from lower Manhattan, 11 days before 9/11. Re: 9/11: Hoboken has the distinction of losing the largest number per capita (1 per thousand) of any zip code. I work at home, so the media temptations are strong. Already I am tired of the promos, and even of the nice guy on NPR who is telling us NOT to listen to him tomorrow.

But today I was given a great gift; I turned off my t.v., my radio, my computer, and I volunteered at the Town Hall Wall, which is a temporary wall set up in Union Square Park (this is a park that is at the northern edge of lower Manhattan). People were invited to write their thoughts about 9/11 on pieces of paper, and I, along with two other women, stapled them to the Wall.

It was very moving. Nearly everyone had something graceful or poignant to say. I met the sister of the guy who was trapped, along with his EMS partner, 3 times in WTC rubble...and survived, along with his partner!--survived to get to introduce Mick Jagger at the big music benefit last year! People wrote fragments of song lyrics, drew the towers, asked for different color markers. Many notes mourned specific people lost. One note celebrated the dogs who worked at Ground Zero. I stapled missives in German, Chinese, Russian, Polish. Lots of people just read all the notes that people had written. One guy, dressed in a wizard costume, quoted from the Lord of the Rings (I do so love New York!). A student from the Urban Academy interviewed us volunteers, asking us: what was the best way to memorialize 9/11? I had to say I didn't know, but I was glad I was doing this.

That's the end of my post. One thing I want to add is, yes, a certain number of people posted angry things, but it was very much in the minority...and they generally had the worst spelling. Plus, only in New York, kids, only in New York: two construction workers insisted that they absolutely had to dig a hole RIGHT THEN in the middle of the area where people were composing. And one shirtless, charismatic homeless guy briefly appropriated one of our plastic tubs and labeled it "9/11 peace fund"--and snagged a dollar...but he gave it right back when he was chided. The tub, not the dollar.


Post a Comment

<< Home