Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11 and Honoring New York City, Our Nations Capital

To me, the capital of the United States is New York City.

Yes, you heard that right. Not Washington, where the politicians on both sides of the fence duke it out on a daily basis in the name of the people, and often get nowhere these days (and to add insult to injury, in the midst of beautiful memorials to people who obviously knew how to govern and serve.)

New York City is where my parents arrived amongst the many immigrants fleeing Nazi Germany, my Mother going through Ellis Island. It is the port where countless other immigrants since 1886 entered the United States under the watchful eye of the Statue of Liberty, who silently proclaimed "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free". New York is also where my husband's name is proudly inscribed on the American Immigrant Wall of Honor.

New York is the irrisistible metropolis of energy and art and theatre and business (and yes, food!) which drew me as a single 20 something to work in the Advertising industry. "Mad Men" makes me smile and remember. My best friend in the world lived there too, and we consumed every inch of the city.

In one of those unbelievable New York stories, New York is where I met Charles who shared my love of the city. Even though neither of our families lived there, we picked New York to get married. Eventually we moved to raise a family, and Dallas is now our happy home.

The events of 9/11 struck us hard, even though we didn't personally know anyone who perished that day. We had been New Yorkers, and to us, all of the victims were family. Like the rest of the country, that day we were all New Yorkers!!

Less than three months later in December 2001, our family boarded a plane to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of my best friend's daughter. It was a trip of love and loss, and a chance to show our kids why we love New York.

Upon landing, we were struck by posters and photos with frantic notes plastered everywhere by those families looking for lost loved ones they would never find. We were part of the sea of humanity who visited Ground Zero, shocking to see, unable to hold our tears and crying with strangers; we paid tribute in Central Park to John Lennon and to George Harrison who had died just days earlier; and milled around Rockefeller Center under flying flags and Christmas Santas. We took the kids to NYFD Engine Co. 3 Ladder Co. 12 in Chelsea which suffered terrible loss.

And then we celebrated the religious coming of age of Avery.

From many perspectives, this is a strange week in New York, a cocktail of Fashions Night Out and the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. While the Yankees are playing on the West Coast, all New Yorkers -- including mine -- Alysa & Charles -- are glued to the pennant race. It is Fashion Week, the finals of the US Open, and tonight the Dallas Cowboys are playing the New York Jets. And the 9/11 memorials are woven throughout, to remember those lost, and testament to the resiliancy of New York and our nation.

What goes around, comes around. For the same reason Charles and I were drawn to New York, our daughter Alysa is now working there, inhaling every inch of the City. For some reason, I'm sure she would agree that yes, New York City is our Nation's Capital. Go Yankees, and God Bless America!