Sunday, September 11, 2011

The first time I stepped foot in World Trade Center was as a child, giddy at the promise of being on top of one of the world's tallest structures. My most indelible memory of that day, however, was not of the view from the top. It was ascending from the Path station amidst an imposing row of escalators and staring in wonder at the seemingly endless streams of black suits briskly walking up the escalators, until my aunt pulled me by the arm. "You never stand on the left side. Everyone's in a rush; let them pass," she said, teaching me my first lesson on the ways of this city that never seemed to stand still.

On September 11, 2001, I sat on my bed in Manila and watched in disbelief as the towers fell like houses of cards. All I could think of were those suits. Had all of them perished? The thought made me feel hollow.

Ten years later, I am a resident of New York. The past five years of loving every moment of living here have taught me that it is, in fact, possible to have a love affair with a city. And so, I grieve for it and those it lost on this day. My home sits three blocks away from Ground Zero. This morning, I woke up to the angelic voices of children singing in remembrance of those who perished. As I walked out to get a cup of coffee, I saw a woman dressed in black seated on a curb, hunched over in remembrance and sorrow that I can't even imagine.

I pray that this city that I love continues to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. I, for one, will never forget.

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