Magazine article Reason

Editor's Note

Magazine article Reason

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

"The World Trade Center should...because of its importance, become a living representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his belief in the cooperation of men, and through this cooperation his ability to find greatness."--World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1987)

I FLEW INTO NEW YORK a couple of weeks after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. For the length of the short flight from Cincinnati, my anxiety about flying so soon after the September 11 hijackings was overwhelmed by my dread of the moment that I knew would come just minutes before landing in LaGuardia airport.

It was a brilliantly clear morning, not unlike the day of the attacks, a virtually cloudless blue sky. After flying across New Jersey and Staten Island, the plane cruised over Brooklyn and then banked up the East River, giving me and the few other passengers onboard an appallingly postcard-perfect view of the irreparably altered Manhattan skyline. From the sky, no trace of the Twin Towers--those gargantuan cathedrals of commerce--was visible, except for a few whisps of smoke that slowly faded into nothingness. Amid the muffled, horrified gasps from fellow passengers on the plane, I heard one murmur, "It's gone. It's really all gone."

Weeks after the attacks, it's still impossible to tally up all the losses, both literal and figurative. Certainly, more than the World Trade Center was destroyed in September, more was damaged than the Pentagon--more was lost even than thousands of innocent lives. A decade after the end of the Cold War, a decade after many in the West had declared the universal triumph of liberal democracy, we have been brutally reinserted back into history, into deep-seated ideological and violent conflict. It is far from clear how events will play out, or what the final toll will be. …

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