The Tiger's Roar
The Rebirth of a NationMonday, September 19, 2011 By Rachel Morales
I’d like to believe that the statement ‘fashionably late’ has some truth in it. Judging by the copious number of times I have been late to events in my life, I could have won the “Project Runway” competition. Unfortunately, going through life at my regular, relaxed pace does not always work out, and leaves me in situations where I am pushing through hoards of people, trying to fight my way up the stairs of the subway stop at Cortlandt Street. Once I reached street level, it was as if I entered a parallel universe. The New Yorkers walking along Church Street were not on their Blackberries, trying to schedule appointments, nor were they pushing other people in order to make the light at the cross walk. The atmosphere of the street parallel to Ground Zero was filled with serenity. Although one would think that the sidewalk just feet away from a location known for such tragedy would have a gloomy feel to it, it instead had a sense of hope and restoration, as the sounds of the machines and construction workers working tirelessly filled the air. Looking at the enormous building still under construction, One World Trade Center, I, along with many other people, were overwhelmed at the sight of the sky-scraper. Even though the tragedy of 9/11 occurred a decade ago, the emotions of the event were still ever-present in the New Yorkers that were gazing at the building with me. However, I was surprised to notice that the citizens around me did not seem bitter, nor were they upset. The friendly smiles and “excuse me’s” shared around me was the last type of behavior I expected to encounter in New York, but were an example of the unity that has grown in America since 9/11. In the ten years that have passed since 9/11, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, have developed a sense oneness in their country. Of course the memory of that day will always bring a sense of devastation to us, but the respect and love fellow citizens now have towards each other is something that can never be stripped away. As I walked towards the PATH train on my way leaving Ground Zero, I saw a cute little boy, with a Brooklyn accent heavier than his pudgy frame, with his father. As he struggled to pull his father down the sidewalk, he pointed towards a picture of the 9/11 Memorial and exclaimed “Look, Dad! This is the big, new park they’re making for all of those people. It’s going to be the biggest park ever, with trees, and waterfalls and…” As the boy continued to rattle off his own version of statistics about the 9/11 Memorial, I couldn’t help but smile. Even though that young boy may never understand the emotions and struggles the citizens of New York went through in 2001, I was glad to see that the rebirth of New York did not stop at the creation of new buildings, but continued on to a new generation of citizens. Once I was on the train going back home, I continued to think of the boy, and imagined in my head that in 30 years, he would be working in the One World Trade Center, and would prove that nothing can restrict the nation of America from uniting, no matter how dark or impossible the present obstacles seem.