Two years later

Thursday, September 11, 2003, dawned clear and cool, the sky blue and cloudless-not quite as blue as Tuesday, September 11, 2001, and not quite as clear. But for New Yorkers after a rainy, humid summer, it verged on a perfect autumn day. Or would have, except for the sad round of memorials remembering the 2,645 men and women who perished at the World Trade Center. Their families and friends gathered at Ground Zero as they had last year. This year, the roll call was read by the children of those who died. Like last year, politics was banned, no speeches, no photo-ops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg disinvited Vice President Dick Cheney from ceremonies at Ground Zero because his security requirements were said to interfere with the families’ access. Instead, Cheney went uptown to Riverside Church for an afternoon service commemorating staff members of the Port Authority who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

A minute of silence at 8:46 a.m. was observed by some in the city, but not others. There were those who forgot the day, and those who forgot the time, even though no New Yorker could forget what happened: the blackout on August 14 immediately rekindled the fear of another terrorist attack. Two years after September 11, 2001, there is still much sorrow and grief (remains are still being found, and a Mass-the final one for a firefighter-was celebrated on September 9), but there is also a turn to routine and to...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.