2015-09-09 / Editorials

We’re Still Here

Reprinted from September 11, 2002

A year can seem like forever. Then again, it can seem as if no time had passed at all.

One year ago today we came to the Gazette offices expecting one more mildly chaotic production session. We would, we thought, edit the last few stories, proofread the last few ads, read the pages and get the paper out the door, just as we always did.

By 9 am all remnants of a normal day had vanished. We had heard the news reports. Those of us who had come in a little later had seen the television images. The World Trade Center towers had collapsed, the Pentagon was in flames, and the United States of America (us!) was under attack.

We’re proud of the way we kept things together. No one screamed, panicked, fainted or punched a hole in a wall. One person went home, which we didn’t hold against her; the rest of us stayed and kept on putting the paper out.

A week before, the Labor Day holiday induced one of us to embark on a Circle Line cruise. The picture taken on that cruise of the Twin Towers framing the Woolworth Building went on our front page. We considered using some of the photographs that came in during that long day of carnage and destruction and decided against it. We preferred to show what we still maintain is a triumph of the human spirit. We thought we were right then, and do now.

Rereading the front-page editorial we wrote while the World Trade Center and Pentagon smoldered for the paper that would come out the day following, we’re struck by how much of our sentiments still apply. The major difference between then and now is that we know that 2,819 people are dead or missing in the World Trade Center attack – we knew there were deaths, but we didn’t know numbers then – and we know who perpetrated this monstrous act and are pursuing the criminals and prosecuting the ones we have in our custody. The spirit, the resolve, the determination that enabled us to rise above the horror and look to the future remains as strong now as it did a year ago.

The spirit that built the World Trade Center is still with us. We felt it here September 11, 2001 and we feel it still. We joined in it as we stayed at our jobs, edited copy, wrote an editorial that managed to honor the dead and salute the living without being maudlin, pompous or inane. Today, one year later, we still mourn, but now, as we did then, we go on with our lives.

September 11, 2001 will be with us always. Those who left us on that day are with us still, in our minds and hearts. English poet John Donne, in his Meditation XVII, said, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” We, who call ourselves mankind, were diminished by the death and destruction of September 11, but we are immeasurably enriched by our being privileged to have shared in the lives of those who left us on that date. We mourn our lost friends and family, but we rejoice in our having been privileged to share their lives. By our continuing to uphold the ideals on which this country was founded we keep the memory of the lost of September 11 alive in us. May it always be so.

Thirteen years later, this editorial is still timely.—Tony Barsamian, Publisher

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