Eichah -- Ground Zero

By Gais, Ruth M. | Midstream, November 2001 | Go to article overview

Eichah -- Ground Zero


Gais, Ruth M., Midstream


She that was great among nations
Is now become like a widow;
The princess among states
Is become a thrall. (Lamentations 1:1) (*)

In the beginning, on Tuesday, when we saw the TV video clip of the United Airlines jet piercing the skin and the heart of the North Tower, a sound bite often played along with the image. We could all hear the voice of someone far below on the streets of New York shouting something like, "Oh my God." But as the days have gone by, and that horrible moment has become almost iconic, we don't hear that voice anymore.

   The image is enough. The cry to God has disappeared.

The workers digging through the rubble at ground zero, the enormous pit that was the Twin Towers, say that more than the exhausting and dangerous physical labor, more than the heat, the smell, the fear and the pain, more than anything else, the worst part of working in the pit is the silence. Every now and then, someone will shout that he's heard something or that a dog has sniffed something, but this will turn out to be a false hope. The workers, straining so hard to hear a human voice, a faint whimper, anything, hear only silence, an eerie quiet.

   O Lord, God of my deliverance,
   When I cry out in the night before You,
   let my prayer reach You;
   incline Your ear to my cry.
   For I am sated with misfortune;
   I am at the brink of Sheol.
   I am numbered with those who go down to the Pit;
   I am a helpless man
   abandoned among the dead,
   like bodies lying in the grave
   of whom You are mindful no more....
   Why, O Lord, do You reject me,
   do You hide your face from me? (Psalm 88: 1-6,15)

On Tuesday, moving north from the World Trade Center, the people fled in silence, like refugees from Pompeii, covered in ash and dirt; a silent army of gray people moved uptown.

The streets of New York, the following Friday, were also silent. Where I was, between 14th Street and Canal, had just been reopened to cars and there was some traffic, but far less than usual. But the real silence is felt on the streets. Stores are closed or almost empty. People are out but conversations are few, shy quiet interchanges. It's rare to hear loud music or laughter. Dealings with shopkeepers are tender but subdued, almost brittle. People still seem embarrassed to talk about anything else and conversations tend to fade away with phrases like "It's so unbelievable." "Still so horrible."

   While at ease, I once thought: Nothing can shake my security.
   Favor me and I am a mountain of strength.
   Hide Your face, O Lord, and I am terrified. (Psalm 30: 7-8)

The farther you go from the pit, Ground Zero, the more noise there is. This is odd, really, because, everyone I spoke to who was close to the World Trade Center on Tuesday, talks about the huge loud noise first and then the smoke and fire. That first noise was like stone dropped in a quiet lake -- a big splash and then concentric ripples retreating farther and farther away. Example: I was on a train going into the city when the conductor ran through the car telling us that a plane had crashed into one of the Towers. We looked out the window and could see a huge mushroom cloud of smoke, but we heard nothing.

There was silence in the car for a moment, and then everyone began talking or dialing cell phones. But when we got to Hoboken, just across the river from the World Trade Center, it was silent again. We all just stood and stared at the burning buildings.

   And Aaron, the high priest, was silent. (Leviticus 10:3)

Aaron said nothing after his two sons, Nadav and Avihu were killed. The commentators ask, "What does his silence mean?"

There is a difference, though, between telling and understanding. I was unable to concentrate or write anything for several days. I discovered that when I tried to write this, I felt compelled first to write down in elaborate detail what I myself had witnessed, sort of like Coleridge's Ancient Mariner. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Eichah -- Ground Zero
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.