I happened to be visiting my parents in New York when the news came that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan. My parents live only 7 blocks from ground zero and I have always been one to be drawn to an historical moment (When my mom took me to City Hall when I was very young, I screeched, "Mom, look! They're making laws! Real laws!").
So I headed down to Ground Zero along with crowds of people drawn to the spot. When I was about two blocks away, I saw this chilling ad on a telephone booth:
I kept walking and saw these two young people carrying peace signs:
It was hard to read their posters fast enough but I got a sense that they were questioning killing in the name of peace. I snapped this picture and am happy to be able to read at least one of the posters. I also see a scared look on one of their faces. And indeed, as I walked on, I heard someone behind me make fun of them and their posters. I turned and said I liked their message.
I kept walking with the growing crowd. I could see tons of television cameras:
And police officers:
I looked up into the airspace that used to hold the towers and saw a news helicopter and eerily, a plane:
You can also see the new tower being built:
Attached to the fence around the World Trade Center site, I found these sad reminders of loss:
It was around this time that I started having a bad feeling about the jubulation over the killing of Osama Bin Laden. I was happy that he was stopped from doing anymore harm, but wondered if he had to be killed without being brought to judicial justice. I thought: "Here I am in the right place to make a statement for peace. Dare I?" I walked quickly to Staples, office supply store, two blocks from the old towers and bought two boxes of colored chaulk ($.99/ each). I thought that I really wanted to write something down and hoped if it was in chaulk that I wouldn't get arrested. About a block from the Ground Zero site, amid crowds and police, I knelt down and wrote this:
So far so good, no arrests. Although one police office came closer to me and watched me. I wrote:
I was shaking now. And then a man came up and smeared the whole thing with his shoe. I thought of my wonderful mentor in the peace movement in Ohio, John Looney, and added his name, an American flag, and then on second thought, I emptied the box of chaulk so anyone could add their sentiments:
You can see it is smudged out too.
I was sweating now but I thought I would try to write it one more time, closer to the actual center of the Ground Zero action. What did I have to lose? I just worried that someone might jump me. But I wrote it one more time:
I was happy to see the writing surrounded by people clicking photos. The news media was close and I thought that maybe someone might notice. But I was scared of being hurt so I slipped away. On the way home I saw this tragic sight:
So much to think about!