Real New Yorkers (9/11/16)

I read a poem a while back that said
“real New Yorkers” don’t visit
the 9/11 Museum.
It’s only for tourists.

One of two reflecting pools at Ground Zero

It made me sad, soul-sad,
in a way I can’t even describe.
I thought about my own reaction
when I visited. It was one of only
two times in my life I burst into tears,
shocking myself. I didn’t feel it coming,
until it was there in all its’ raw power.

Survivor’s Stairs

The emotion that wells up unexpectedly
is a part of our human-ness. I’ve thought
of that poet’s words often, feeling a little
lost for him, for his cynicism. I don’t know
where to assign that attitude in my brain file
so I keep turning it over and over in my mind.


The thing is,
real New Yorkers died that day.
Real New Yorkers responded that day.
Real New Yorkers rescued that day.
Real New Yorkers suffered that day.

SoL replica that appeared in front of an FDNY firehouse (Eng Co 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9) in the days after 9/11. Passers-by placed small mementos on her.

I don’t write this to shame the poet.
I write this to remind the poet
to look into his poet’s heart,
to remember why he is a poet.


These are the days to remember,
when cynicism grabs your throat.
Remember when the world mourned
the lives lost on 9/11 and the days
after when all Americans were
real New Yorkers.

One World Trade Center in New York skyline

Visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum website.


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