Opinion: A fitting tribute

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Last weekend, my wife and I hosted friends of ours from the great state of Michigan who were visiting New York City. Of course they wanted to see all the sites of interest in Manhattan. We did that and we also saw some wonderful shows on Broadway, including “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” which is a wonderful musical about the life and times of that great Motown singing group known as The Temptations. I recommend both shows.

But as we approach the 18th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, my friends wanted to go downtown to “Ground Zero” and see the area which for many New Yorkers, and Americans everywhere, has become sacred ground and a pilgrimage.

It is hard to believe that so many years have now passed since that dreadful day when nearly 3,000 people were killed by the two planes that crashed into the Twin Towers and caused such destruction. Surely it is a moment in time that none of us will ever forget. I was just a few hundred yards away when the planes struck. No New Yorker in particular can ever forget the grief and anger that we all felt as our city was attacked.

I found myself reliving the whole experience as I walked my friends from the Brooklyn Bridge subway stop across City Hall Park to Broadway and then along Church Street to the site. Retracing the very path that I travelled that morning on 9/11.

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Opinion: That day: A personal recollection

By former Assemblymember Steven Sanders

Can it really be 15 years already since that darkest of days when the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists, as well as the Pentagon, resulting in the death of over 3,000 innocent American citizens? A third attack probably aimed at Washington D.C. was thwarted by brave passengers on board a flight over Pennsylvania. They heroically lost their lives as well.

Among the dead in New York City were hundreds of firefighters, police officers and other first responders. Hundreds more have since succumbed to illnesses connected with inhaling of the toxic air which hung thick over “Ground Zero” for weeks after the collapse of the Twin Towers. Many of those dead or presently ill persons included ironworkers and construction workers and others who diligently worked to uncover any remains and to sort out the twisted beams strewn about the rubble.

Do you remember the hundreds of lamp posts covered with pictures of missing friends and relatives? They never returned home and they were never buried. There was nothing left of their mortal selves. For days after September 11, 2001 residents of this city walked the streets in silence trying to get on with their work or the daily routine of their lives. We greeted each other with a nod or a shrug. Maybe a knowing gesture. There were no words, only abject sadness and anger.

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