The New Sun Newspaper

A New York Moment...Buried Deep in Our Souls

My twin brother David and I were born 53 years ago this week. After Mother's long and painful labor he began this life at 3:55 a.m., I arrived exactly ten-minutes later. No matter the distance traveled, we have never been more than ten-minutes apart. Twins are like that; watching out for one another, protecting their loved ones -- standing tall, side by side -- together, always together.

In New York on a crystal clear Tuesday morning, while standing guard over our liberty harbor, America's most recognizable twins were murdered, cut down exactly twenty-three minutes apart. They were attacked from behind by ruthless cowards and they fought valiantly to remain standing as long as possible while countless New Yorkers ran for their lives.

On Tuesday afternoon I climbed up on my mountain bike and began traveling the streets of our beloved Manhattan. Packing only a camera, cell phone and a bottle of water, I went in search of a city I have never seen before. The streets were empty of all traffic save the rescue vehicles which provided an almost constant backdrop of speed and sirens. Every few minutes two F-16 fighter jets passed over head patrolling our avenues from an altitude of perhaps 10,000 feet.

Police officers and uniformed SWAT team members armed with machine guns stopped the occasional civilian car, checking identification and purpose. By days end I had fallen more deeply in love with Manhattan and the wonderful people in it. I could feel love and positive energy from all corners of my travel. Even the officer with the machine gun treated me with dignity and respect. We are all numbed, but unified.

As day two and three turns into day four New York Citians have begun settling back into their busy lives. Our airports are opened with limited services. It is estimated that better then 50% of our commuting work force is back on the job. Schools north of 14th street are in session, the stock market will reopen Monday morning. Mayor Giuliani is doing a remarkable job of pulling this city together. His leadership has instilled confidence and reflects the courage and discipline of all those who have stepped into the breach.

The police continue to investigate -- gratefully, uneventful bomb scares. Remarkable precautions are being taken to protect our citizens. It is clear that New Yorkers will not stand down to this enemy and our city is bathing in the warmth of deeply spiritual love and service. Selfless assistance from within each home and across the nation is the remarkable sign of this.

Everyone I know has been touched by this tragedy. I have spoken with two friends specifically who witnessed the most graphic of events. Yes, they got out alive, but not without emotional damage being inflicted. One pal has been, for the past two days comforting his best friend's wife and little girl. Their husband and daddy was apparently trapped in his office on the 105th floor. His little girl and wife spent Tuesday night screaming hysterically at the television "Why...why?" Another woman has joined her entire family in a desperate search for her cousin Terry. My next door neighbor and his girlfriend are missing. My friend Deborah walked to the Javits Center last night so that she could donate, to the needy rescuers, her beloved Paul's clothing. They have a critical need for clean socks, T-shirts and work clothes.

Thousands upon thousands of rescuers are working without sleep. Breathing and digging and lifting and trudging through drifts of concrete and glass dust particles. They are in an unrelenting search for survivors and the remains of their beloved brother and sisters.

The freeway, like West Side Highway, has been transformed into one of many vehicular staging areas. This speedway is now a ribbon of flashing red lights stretching as far as the eye can see. Rescue wagons with crews from everywhere sit poised waiting for the opportunity of joining in. Nearby on Chelsea Pier, reporters, doctors and Red Cross workers join exhausted fire fighters and police for rest and nourishment. They all wear matching uniforms of white soot and grime.

Each and every face shares the same stone-like look of resolve, compassion and heartache.

The fire houses in New York are adorned with hundreds of floral arrangements accompanied by notes of love, sorrow and gratitude. Wednesday evening, The New Sun publisher, Lese Dunton and I stopped into a fire station on West 58th Street. We joined the many pedestrians compelled to pay respects. We spoke briefly with the skeleton crew standing near the big doorway. We needed to tell them that we love them and pray for their safety. Their tears were real and humble and humbling.

This attack has turned our city into two New Yorks. The first located above Canal Street, A town searching for a normal life. The community below Canal where tourists once visited Wall Street, City Hall, One Police Plaza, Tribeca, Battery Park City and the Twin Towers, now copes with the added danger of mud and slime and cold weather deposited by a torrential thunderstorm.

A large portion of "The Canyon of Heroes," which has for a century celebrated Lindbergh, D-Day, space travel and world champion ball players is but a crater filled with flood lights, death and undaunted heroes risking their lives for our fallen heroes.

It was at approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday that the wind shifted northward eventually blanketing upper Manhattan with smoke. By 7:00 p.m. my throat burned and my vision blurred with acidified tears. The stench lingered through the night serving as a sober reminder of what lies buried deep, within five million square feet of what was once The World Trade Center.

In the end, incomprehensible hatred fueled an inferno that melted our World Trade Center down to the sea. Thousands of people have died, scores of families are reeling with grief and millions of hearts have been broken beyond repair. Still, from atop my mountain bike, I clearly detect the reborn spirit of this indomitable people.

As we bury our loved ones deep in our souls let this crucible tell the world that New York City's Twin Towers of love will once again reach to the heavens.

by Don Owens
Staff Writer