Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00
Recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg created quite a stir by proposing a limit on the size of sugary drinks sold within the city’s limits. While those on both sides of the debate will argue the proposal’s pros and cons, what has gotten lost in the debate is that 11 years after that horrible September morning, New York City is getting back to normal. In the days after the attacks then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a huge Yankee fan, was cheered when he went in to Shea Stadium for the first baseball game in the city after the attack. He remarked that things would be back to normal when Mets fans started booing him again. If soda is dominating city news, then things are back to normal, and New Yorkers, which includes Long Islanders, should be proud of that.
Soon after the attacks first occurred, Americans and, in particular New Yorkers, came together to support each other in a manner that was unprecedented. We did so many things to help our nation and our region overcome that day, and we did so without giving them a second thought.
There are the largely noticeable things we did, such as the prayer and memorial services, which were held to honor the victims and let their families know that they weren’t alone. There were the many fundraisers that were held and the courageous stories of New Yorkers of all ages, even children, pitching in to help us overcome. There were so many meaningful gestures made, some as simple as a phone call, a visit, an invitation to dinner or something else to help the grieving cope with the loss.
There were also so many ways in which we stood up to terrorism, even without realizing that we were doing so. In the days after the attacks, I’m sure everyone wondered if we would find the courage to once again board an airplane, yet we do. The first time we went into Manhattan and saw the gaping hole in the skyline and the smoldering ashes, it was frightening, yet we still ventured in. Sure, there may have been a knot in each of our stomachs, and we may have taken an extra deep breath the first time we crossed over a bridge to go into Manhattan or took a ride on a New York City subway, but we found the courage to do so anyway. And we have continued to do so. Maybe going into the city to see a Broadway show may not seem like a big deal, but in September 2001, it was. Yet so many of us have done so. By visiting Times Square, having lunch downtown, and most importantly, not letting our way of life be altered by terrorism, we defeated the terrorists.
I won’t write that New Yorkers won. You cannot claim victory when more than 3,000 innocent lives are lost. But we were not defeated. The ultimate goal of the terrorists was to not only take so many lives but to also cripple New York City and have all of us live a life of fear. And in that attempt, we stood together against terrorism, and overcame its horrid effects.
When the attacks first happened, many wondered if New York would ever recover. Would it be the same? Would we overcome? Eleven years later, the answer is a resounding “yes.”
The lights are still bright on Broadway. The Yankees and Mets have moved into new stadiums. The museums are still open for visitors. People still stroll through Central Park, and the Freedom Tower is almost completed,
The lost are not forgotten. We vowed to never forget and we haven’t. But our country, our city, and our region continue on course.
The last 11 years have been difficult, but they have also been when we were at our best. We showed the world how special we are. Stand tall New York, as high as those majestic Twin Towers once stood, and be proud.
Ron Scaglia is the Special Sections editor of Anton Newspapers.