Resiliency in the face of tragedy

No day shall erase you from the memory of time.  -Virgil

At 36-feet high, the Last Column is a 58-ton beam that was part of the core structure of the South Tower and is covered with mementos, memorial inscriptions and missing posters.

It started like a typical late summer day at work, with the exception of the unusual clarity of the sky and the brilliance of the blue.

I was passing the residents’ lounge in Clara Ford Pavilion where two doctors were intensely absorbing the television report. A plane had been reported to have crashed into the World Trade Center.

Having traveled to LaGuardia the month before, I was trying to remember our flight trajectory during landing and contemplating how an aircraft could have gone so far off course.

We watched in horror as another plane flew into the second tower, making clear this wasn’t a navigational or mechanical failure, but a deliberate act of terror, an intentional act of mass murder.

Our country and the world were forever changed on that day, the day we all became New Yorkers.

This blog is not about the horrific losses felt to this day nor the spinning extremes of subsequent events.

I had not returned to this area of Manhattan until last weekend. My wife and I spent Saturday, ascending the Freedom Tower, viewing the memorial and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and walking around the magnificently rebuilt site.

Sobering, humbling, inspiring.

This blog is about the resiliency of our people, the human spirit to overcome even the most profound tragedies, the persistence to create anew out of the ashes. The ability to overcome the insurmountable and carry on. Plainly, toughness.

We have some familiarity with resiliency. In our patients, our employees, our City. And a shining example of the power of this is in Downtown Manhattan.

I have to say that I had never felt at peace with what happened that September day over 16 years ago. Perhaps the discomfort of witnessing this from a far and continuing to have a sense of grief and anger.

But on this cold rainy day in February, my sense of awe and admiration for my fellow man has replaced those negative thoughts, never to be replaced from the memory of time.

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2 thoughts on “Resiliency in the face of tragedy

  1. I took my 15 year-old son to NYC for the first time last year. We spent a lot of time at the Memorial and surrounding areas. I can only describe it as haunting. The visitors hardly spoke; it was eerily quiet, outside of the various recordings playing overhead. A very real and jarring presentation of the horror the city and nation endured that day and the strength developed to overcome.

  2. I remember standing with you and several residents on this day. I remember the shock we all expressed, the horror. I remember someone said that it would change the way the we would travel and the way the population of this world travels.

    I remember the days after and the silence overhead as NO planes flew over my house (I live near the airport and some days it’s loud!). I remember the first few planes that did fly out and when they were on “odd” flight patterns, I was thinking that I should call authorities.

    I remember…..

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