Every September 11th (since 9/11), my wife Judy and I make a pilgrimage to lower Manhattan, to pay tribute, to those who lost their lives on that faithful September morn, and while time may indeed fade most recollections, the events of that day will forever be itched in my mind and in my heart.
However, the most heart wrenching moments for me was visiting Ground Zero on the first anniversary and looking into the faces of young beautiful people, (most smiling), their photos in the thousands, placed carefully by loved ones on the chain link fence that surrounded the massive crater…that was once the Twin Towers.
I wrote this brief tribute after observing tourists on 9/11/03, coming to Ground Zero, speaking loudly, laughing and photographing the chain link fence, with those hundreds of photographs attached…surrounding the site.
I realized at that moment that Ground Zero had become (to some) a tourist site…at first I was angry watching this casual almost ambivalent stream descend on this hallowed site, and vendors hawking their merchandise in the very shadows, of those who lost their lives, selling photos and T-shirts; however, I’ve come to realize that there’s something unmistakably unique and quit American in how we handle tragedy.
And so every year since 2003, I resubmit “I Walk the Canyons (a tribute to 9/11)”…in as many publications as possible, and through the years since then…it has appeared in countless publications and web-sites.
I Walk the Canyons (a tribute to 9/11)
By Robert Amoroso
September 11th 2003
Since 9/11 I've walked the canyons of lower Manhattan, many times. The sun now shines in places it never did before. The towering Towers are gone now, the sun now shines on its footprints, and every time I walk this hallowed ground, I walk in silence. My head a little lower, my pace a little slower, I hear the muffled whispers of tourists, and the flash of a camera as they pass the chain link fence, where once stood two mighty buildings.
The weather beaten photos are now the only reminder left, to the horror and tragedy that took place two years ago, today. Photos of beautiful young faces smiling, looking back at you, are gone forever. They now line the fence, as a silent tribute of that faithful day.
Photos, of thousands of young dreams shattered within the flash of a fire ball…dreams forever lost. Yet the sun still shines, in the glass and steel canyons, the buildings still sparkle like diamonds in the sky.
Perhaps it's a testament to the human sprit, or perhaps it’s the will of a city that refuses to quit. Whatever it is, I begin to walk a little taller, my pace begins to quicken, I will not quit, I will not be frightened, I will not yield to terror, I will not be intimidated, I will ride the trains, I will walk this town, unafraid, I'm a New Yorker...I'm an AMERICAN!
Copyright 2003 Robert Amoroso