Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on our cycling tour we got a great view of the One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, nearing completion.
The stark diagonal lines on its sides created shimmering elongated triangles set against the same sort of clear blue sky as on that fateful day the two towers were destroyed (and when I was in the middle of a hike at the beginning of my final term of training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst).
We cycled right by Ground Zero, past all the tourist hawks selling somewhat unsettling commemorative photos and booklets, stopping next to a fire station as a truck and a crew emerged to head off responding to a call out.
The station would have been right on the door step of that terrible day in 2001. A metal mural was on one of the station’s walls commemorating its fire fighters who lost their lives that day.
I’ve noticed something about firefighters in America: they’re seriously tough-looking dudes and these guys were no different–reminding me of some of the hard-as-nails soldiers I bumped into among the British Army’s infantry regiments–as they stood on the sidewalk in their smoke-dulled overalls telling people to keep back while they guided the truck out onto the street and jumped on board as the wailing siren let NYC’s traffic know what was going down.
There’s much in the U.S. that is over hyped, but I’d say its fire fighters certainly don’t seem to be. Tough job.