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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Monday, September 12, 2011

A 9/11 Follow-up: the Thrill of a Parking Ticket

St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, the church I attend in Brooklyn Heights, had a special "event" Sunday afternoon called "Sanctuary Still", a day of reflection on the role of Brooklyn and our church in embracing and comforting people in distress over that deep tragedy. Local writers read poems and essays, and representatives of four outside music organizations who hold concerts in the church performed, as well as the church's own choir and organist. Our Borough President (who are sort of quasi-mayors in each New York City borough), City Councilman, State Senator and the commander of our local NYPD precinct were present and gave remarks. The church was full – meaning at least 500 people were there. It was a lovely and meaningful thing.

Two thoughts from it.

Borough President Marty Markowitz shared he had been at a mosque earlier this Sunday morning deep in the heart of Brooklyn. The commemoration the men and women of that mosque were making for the anniversary was that each of them donated a pint of blood.

One of the writers explained that he earns his day-to-day living working in the Brooklyn criminal justice system. One of the hardest things he found right after 9/11 was giving the kind of serious attention to ordinary, run-of-the-mill street crimes which those mundane affairs needed. What could compare to what we had just suffered? But then he realized that the order of the day must be made to stand. I identified with this: in that 2001 moment, I realized that my own best contribution right then was to go about my regular job as a Wall Street economist to show that the terrorists couldn't stop us. Similarly, this writer Tim McLoughlin said he realized that there are rules of society and they must be enforced; this was his work. The order of society must not be allowed to break down. He said that, in turn, a few days later he got a parking ticket on one of our main neighborhood streets, and he cried. That was exactly what needed to happen: life was going on, someone was enforcing the rules of society, and he was thrilled to get a parking ticket. The terrorists had not prevailed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: Two Images

As some of you may know, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was attending a breakfast meeting in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel at the World Trade Center. During the speech by the CEO of a major brokerage firm, the gentleman next to me nudged me and whispered, "Are we having an earthquake?" The chandeliers began to rattle and seconds later, there was a loud boom. All 250 of us jumped up and ran. My escape took me to Battery Park at the very tip of Manhattan and then to Jersey City via tugboat. After more travel in New Jersey and through Midtown Manhattan, I eventually got home in Brooklyn Heights at about 6:30 that night. The real journey that began for me that morning has taken me to a number of other places, up to and including the Geranium Farm and even beyond.

The image of the early days that has remained constantly in my mind's eye is this one.

One of the hardest parts of those days was the sense of loss that was aroused even from just looking out windows and seeing the empty space in the skyline. There was great symbolism in that emptiness. So, in recent months, my spirits have been lifted by the rising of the new One World Trade Center building. It is heartwarming indeed to feel the sense of renewal embedded in that structure. And it is particularly satisfying to see the 80 floors of structural steel as it appears this weekend:

Good wishes to everyone this weekend. May the commemoration of this occasion be worthwhile and gratifying for all of you.

The photo of the firemen is evidently in the public domain, since we found it on several websites. The striking view of the new Trade Center building was taken by Andy Ramirez of KNXV-TV, ABC15 in Phoenix, AZ, who is spending the weekend in New York; it is copyrighted by Scripps Media, Inc.

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