September 11 in New York “It’s a Difficult Day” | September 11, 2001

The young woman watches those who lost a loved one on September 11, 2001 go by. It’s hard not to feel a little of her sadness.

It’s a tough dayLaura Bray admits, her voice choked with emotion. It’s very difficult to be here. It’s difficult every year.

The New Yorker was 14 on the day of the attacks. That day she remembers it like everyone else. See it … but not believe what we saw. Marked by what she saw on that dark day.

For the 20th anniversary, there is no question of staying at home. It’s more painful in front Ground Zero, most it’s important to never forget the sacrifices of the first responders, heroes who attempted to regain control of flight 93.

The memorial to the September 11, 2001 attacks at Ground Zero

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

Around her, Americans from various backgrounds, like the 3,000 killed in a few hours during the attacks. And like the victims, most are discreet this September morning. We keep prayers and reflections to ourselves.

Guilty of surviving

This morning in September 2021, a rare silence swept over the southern tip of Manhattan. A sound that New Yorkers know little about. Always striking sound. Like the memory of the attacks.

Speaking of memories, they still haunt Germano Riviera. He was at the foot of the south tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed. I was completely paralyzed. I thought I was going to die, but …

But he is not dead. Chance, the generosity of foreigners saved him. He survived, but remains scarred. Can you believe that sometimes in my dreams I still look for survivors.

It never left me. I’m still there! It is not easy.

A quote from:Germano Riviera

For the ceremony, this former jeweler came with a huge flag of honor on which are inscribed the names of the victims of the 2001 attacks. I am alive, I had to continue to live.

Germano Riviera waves an American flag inscribed with the names of the victims of the 2001 attacks in New York.

Germano Riviera waves a huge “flag of honor” on which are inscribed the names of the victims of the 2001 attacks.

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

Many of us feel guilty for having survived. Ed Monahan is a retired New York firefighter. It was his team that responded to the first distress calls from the World Trade Center.

He was not in the trucks that drove towards the Twin Towers that morning. Instead, he was on his way home, just finishing his shift. Why am I so lucky to be alive when others are still there?

Ed Monahan will never have an answer to this difficult question. And no, time has not erased remorse. Around this time of year, every year, I think about it.

Beside her, her son nods, his eyes wet. Himself a policeman in New York, he evokes this lump in his stomach that he dragged all day to school, before knowing that his father was alive and well.

A little further on, we meet a young firefighter looking for souvenirs. I went to war because of it! exclaims Michael Nicola, pointing to the spot where there are no more twin towers. Coming from Illinois, this is the first time he’s seen this corner of Manhattan.

His thoughts are with the thousands of dead and sick first responders, those who have breathed the toxic air around Ground Zero for weeks in search of the victims.

Michael Nicola has his left arm around Doug Yurekco's shoulders.

Michael Nicola (left), a young firefighter looking for souvenirs, with Doug Yurekco (right), one of the firefighters who spent a lot of time digging through the ruins of the World Trade Center.

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

His travel companion, Doug Yurekco, is one of those firefighters who spent a lot of time excavating the ruins of the World Trade Center. 2001. There wastwo or three feet of dust. It permeated our clothes, all our gear. “,” Text “:” I can still smell 2001. There were two or three feet of dust. It permeated our clothes, all our gear. “}}”>I can still smell the smell of 2001. There were two or three feet of dust. It permeated our clothes, all our gear.

The kind of details that won’t be forgotten. No more than this cancer that is now eating him from the inside. The disease does not cause him any regrets.

I will do it again without hesitation! And my department would definitely do that too.

A quote from:Doug Yurekco

A fraternal mutual aid, born from the ashes of September 11.

Memories everywhere

We must move away from Ground Zero to understand that these attacks marked an entire city. A whole people. Three kilometers north, the West Village lives at a different pace. But by paying attention, we find traces of the attacks.

There’s this tiny little square on the corner of two streets. On fences screwed to the wall of a building, colored ceramics. Messages of hope and sympathy are painted by hand.

Hand painted ceramic with a fire truck and the words

On fences screwed to the wall of a building, ceramics in which messages of hope and sympathy are painted by hand.

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

It is another memorial, unofficial, citizen. It was first heartbroken New Yorkers who made them. Then other pieces of ceramic arrived, sent by Americans also shaken.

Some 4000 pieces have survived the passage of time. Most are not visible, stored to protect them from the elements. Preserved in the hope of finding them a permanent place of exhibition.

This city is complacent, laments Paul McClure, a resident of the West Village who takes care of the tiles still attached to the wall. People will soon forget about the dead from COVID. Cynical or lucid? Maybe a bit of both in a city that has had its share of tragedy… and memories.

Paul McClure in front of a wall with pieces of tiles.

Paul McClure, a resident of the West Village, takes care of the tiles still attached to the wall. Some 4000 pieces have survived the passage of time.

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

Ayalat Cohen stops with a friend to observe the ceramics. She hopes that they will be preserved for a long time. The memories of this tragedy are linked to places. There need to be reminders at these places so that you don’t forget.

Recalls, there are already a lot in New York. In fire stations, on certain buildings. Sometimes these are the streets that honor a loved one who has passed away.

And then there are these memories that are outside the metropolis. Like a tree planted by the water in a town further north. This is where Eugene Belilovsky prefers to remember his mother, Yelena, whose offices were in the World Trade Center.

The tree was dedicated to him. He grew up and faced the fury of Storm Sandy. He was covered with salt water. He survived.

Eugene Belilovsky kneels at the foot of a tree, stroking a commemorative plaque.

Eugene Belilovsky next to the tree planted in homage to his mother Yelena, whose offices were located in the World Trade Center.

Photo : Radio-Canada / Yanik Dumont Baron

To survive. Like this boy, who was 13 when he lost his mother. Like the good memories that always accompany those who are still alive.

Eugene Belilovsky recalls admiring the Fourth of July fireworks from his mother’s offices on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center. It was weird to see the fireworks under our feet!

Memories that make you smile. These are the ones that must be preserved. And it doesn’t matter how many years have passed since the attacks. It doesn’t make a big difference … We must not forget.

As much as possible, do not forget.

A quote from:Eugene Belilovsky

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