Editors Desk

Since the first anniversary of 9/11/01, I have included this poem in every September issue. I wrote ‘The Spirit of New York’ one week after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I have always considered the month of September to hold a lot of changes. Some of these changes tug at my heart strings such as it is time to return to school – the little ones experiencing kindergarten for the first time and our older babies leaving for college. Although the refreshing smell of autumn is starting to fill the air, the days are getting shorter and we begin to prepare for the long, cold winter ahead. I always feel that the summer is more care-free, plus I love being with my kids and grand babies, passing a lazy, hazy summer day away.

Since 2001, the month of September can never be thought of or spoken about without coming to mind the most catastrophic event to take place on American soil. A heinous attack that would change life as we know it worldwide and forever. I spend a lot of time in Manhattan and when I gaze over at the Freedom tower, I perceive it as a proud symbol of our strength, but I cannot deny that it is a harsh reminder of our vulnerability.

For me, September will always be the dark month of our calendar. It will always be a painful reminder of the terrorist attacks that started out on the 4 doomed jetliners; the men, women and children who perished, the families whose lives were destroyed and how millions of people all over the world held their breath as they watched the burning twin towers come crashing down. Our nation was under attack, our freedom was compromised, and life as we knew it was changed in an instant. The 9/11/01 attacks and the days that followed are one of the most viewed and documented tragedies in our history. As night fell on the day of the attacks and the new day dawned, it was the beginning of another long chapter of pain and suffering, which at the time many did not know was to come. Every day we lose another first responder due to the fact that they were exposed to toxic debris that smoldered while they worked to save lives, recover bodies and rebuild the financial backbone of our country.

The attacks were meant to weaken us spiritually, emotionally and financially. It is true that the destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, closing Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. It was almost as if time stood still in some aspect. But it made “We the People” stronger as a nation, smarter and perhaps less trusting of certain situations, but in order to be safe, one cannot always trust.  Some of us will spend September 11th attending events to memorialize those who perished, seeking comfort through our religion, holding our loved ones a little tighter and maybe even choosing to be alone. But, however you spend this day, one thing is for certain, on 9/11/01 we as a nation came together in a way that I have never seen before or since. For months after the attacks, the unity of American’s here in this country gave us all a sense of peace and hope. I felt a deep sense of pride and compassion for my fellow man like I had never felt before, and it was evident that most felt the same. I saw and heard so many thanking our police and fireman, first responders and paramedics. People seemed kinder to one another. Strangers smiled as they passed each other on the streets, something that you just don’t see often, especially in Manhattan. As time moved us on those escalated feelings of unity started to revert and as sad as it is to say, “We eventually returned to being less expressive of our kindness.” In unity there must be allegiance, and in life one must feel free to express kindness to others without fearing the response. I can honestly say that in my heart I still and will always have the compassion for my fellow man that I felt on the day of 9/11/01. And yes, I’m not afraid to express it, no matter what the response.

This edition of my editor’s journal may not have set the tone for inspiration, or bliss. It wasn’t meant to. It was written to remind us all 9-11-01 NEVER FORGET!

The Spirit of New York

The sun was bright and the sky was clear

How could we have known that disaster was near

The devil was in the sky he had taken flight

Destination New York was in his sight

The sky was burning I thought the end was near

My mind was deafened, I couldn’t hear

Then the inconceivable happened my eyes couldn’t believe

These massive twin brothers were brought to their knees

All those who were lost we can never replace

They live on in our hearts in their own special space

The light that shines in us all was dimmed that dark day

Yet still burns inside us to help light the way

Not only for ourselves, but for the many others

To shed light on the lives of our sisters and brothers

As time goes on and we move ahead

I’ve gone over it in my mind and have often said

If only a warning could have woken our soul

It could have given us a chance at taking control

Faces I see on the street and looked through each day

I see them now in a very different way

9-11-01 has become part of our history

Events of that day will forever remain a mystery

We look towards our future and our children’s as well

To ease the pain and bury the hell

The skyline has been altered and will never look the same

But the spirit of New Yorker’s will always remain.

May peace be with all those whose lives were lost on 911 and to those they left behind.


Live & Let Live

Lee Sheridan, Spike & Chloe’

Editor’s retraction:  In last month’s issue of Gasoline Alley we published a story called, “Long Island Needs a Drag Strip”. The correct spelling of the founders name is John Cozzali.