FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Scene at Ground Zero

From a couple blocks away we could hear the screaming. It was a loud bellow rumbling through the spaces between skyscrapers, the unmistakable sound of a jubilant crowd at a sports stadium. Except this wasn’t a sports stadium ? it was Ground Zero, minutes after Obama addressed the nation to tell us Bin Laden was dead. The people trickling towards the site began sprinting as they got closer, running straight into a teeming mass of young people. A wall of college students. The scene was unmistakably one of a frat party ? most of the thousands there couldn’t have been older than 12 when 9/11 happened.

I had bought a bouquet from a shop on my way down, and I clutched the flowers close to my chest as petals were torn off by the teeming throng pushing past. A young guy approached me and pointed to the flowers ? “What’d you bring those for?” he said. He had a point ? I was out of favor with the masses, and couldn’t see another bouquet anywhere around me. A beer would’ve been more in order ? above our heads, a few young men grasping forties in one hand scaled a traffic light as high as they dared to go, leading the crowd below in a drunken chant of “USA USA,” occasionally alternating into “F*** Osama, F*** Osama!”

Most people had their backs to the Twin Towers site, as they watched the frat-like spectacle on the light pole and cheered on the acrobatics. We pushed our way, through the media who were everywhere, and the teens clothed in American flags, finally making our way to the yellow fence separating us from the dark, empty pit. There was plenty of room to breathe next to the actual site ? no one was looking at it. A handful of police stood quietly off to the side. They seemed somber, and a little annoyed that they were stuck supervising college students tonight. Aside from two bouquets stuck haphazardly in the fence, there was no other sign of memorial ? except a hastily print out sign paying homage to a famous Charlie Sheen line. “America: Winning” it said.

Flags were everywhere. As bright news cameras would shine on the crowds, they would start screaming and chanting, thrusting the stripes and stars into the sky. A friend of mine told me later she saw little moments of remembrance ? a few people carrying candles, a NY firefighter crying. Despite canvassing the crowd from front to back, I didn’t see any of those things.

The mood was jubilant, drunken, expectant. People seemed to be waiting for something ? a show, a performance of some sort. The crowd moved restlessly, turning towards each new chant as it arose, focusing their attentions on crowd surfers and frat boys dangling from poles, looking for their symbol. Finally, at last, Dan Choi, the gay soldier who served in Iraq and fought so hard for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, strolled through the crowd in full uniform. I’d wager that none of the college kids around knew who he was, but his dress code was cause for worship. At last, a hero has come to commemorate the moment. Those around him cheered and shouted. A few people were hoisted into the air and went crowd-surfing. No one was crying.

International journalists kept coming up to us ? probably because of the flowers. “What does this mean for you?” they’d ask, “Did you lose someone here?” They seemed a little baffled by the show ? clearly they don’t realize that America is now “winning.”

Where were the families, where were the people who devastated by 9/11? The only answer I could come up with was that it was midnight ? maybe everyone was in bed before the news got out. Instead, it was a throng of kids. There was no need to bring flowers because no one there could remember the loss ? only the victory.

Carmel deAmicis can be reached at carmelnation@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

December 11, 2018
Eric Draitser
AFRICOM: A Neocolonial Occupation Force?
Sheldon Richman
War Over Ukraine?
Louis Proyect
Why World War II, Not the New Deal, Ended the Great Depression
Howard Lisnoff
Police Violence and Mass Policing in the U.S.
Mark Ashwill
A “Patriotic” Education Study Abroad Program in Viet Nam: God Bless America, Right or Wrong!
Laura Flanders
HUD Official to Move into Public Housing?
Nino Pagliccia
Resistance is Not Terrorism
Matthew Johnson
See No Evil, See No Good: The Truth Is Not Black and White
Maria Paez Victor
How Reuters Slandered Venezuela’s Social Benefits Card
December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail