Tags: 9/11

light in the darkness

[9/11] ten years later

Unison Prayer of Confession from church this morning:
God of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob; God of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians; God of the Godless,

We call on you to shift us from the center of our being, toward forgiveness and release.

We confess that we have held grudges, planned revenge, worried the bones of our judgements till there was no life left on them.  We have not received the gift to our own spirits of forgiving our enemies, nor have we accepted the fact that our enemies can change.

We confess that we sometimes live in nameless fear that others will attack us: for our possessions, for our beliefs, or simply for the fun of it.  These fears keep us from living our lives fully and risking all, for You.

We confess that we have not learned all we can learn from the tragedies that touch our loves or the lives of those we love.  We want things to be easy, even knowing that the things that have been hard have usually brought us the most faith, peace and gratitude.

Make us the kind of people who can forgiven 490 times.  Make us people who are risk-takers and love-bringers, both wise and serpents and innocent as doves.
Today's lectionary reading includes a parable from Matthew on forgiveness.

Last Sunday, Pr. Lisa said that in 2001 [the Sunday after 9/11], the assigned Sunday lectionary readings were so perfect.

I wasn't at a church that Sunday in 2001.  Or any Sunday that academic year (save, I guess, Christmas at home).  I grew up going to church, and that first year at college was the only year of my life thus far that I didn't regularly attend church (I also didn't attend the first couple months living in Somerville, but that's a significantly shorter period of time).  5 9 years that I've been actively choosing to go to church.  I still don't have a good answer to "Why?"  (The "Why not?" for those periods of time I didn't attend church is simply that I placed a higher value on sleeping in on Sundays than I did on attending church.)

Sarcastic Lutheran asked the other day, "Why did SO MANY people go to church on or right after 9-11?" and, "why didn't people KEEP Going to churches after 9-11?"

+

People keep doing the, "Where were you when you got the news?" and this morning I felt like, "I am not interested in doing this."

I go back and forth as to how much I want to engage with this, how much I want to talk about it. I have lots of thoughts about forgiveness and trauma and etc. ... and lots of people better equipped than I have lots of thoughts about international and domestic politics and security and etc.

And we keep telling stories about That Day and the immediate aftermath, and there's something ritualistic about this anniversary every year, and I have mixed feelings about that.

I was going back through my 9/11 entries, and I'd forgotten that I first heard the news walking back from class with Becca -- and we thought it was a joke.  (I didn't have an online journal on 9/11/01, and I didn't post about it on the one-year anniversary, but I have every year since.)

During Prayers of the People this morning, Kathy M. lifted up a thanksgiving for "this perfect September day."  I had a shock flash of remembering the totality of mentions that it was such a perfect September day 10 years ago.

***

A blogger posted some Bruce Springsteen YouTubes and then I was grieving something else entirely.  Oh, self.

***

Housemate: [stands outside my bedroom door] [makes approving comment re: Maureen Johnson's 9/11 piece]
me: "Yeah, I liked hers.  It made me cry.  But everything makes me cry."
Housemate: "I don't think I've ever seen you cry, and I've lived with you for 3 years."
me: "Well not everything everything makes me cry."
Housemate: "I think that's why this door is closed sometimes."
me: "Maybe."
prophecy girl

[9-11] nine years later

So, today's the ninth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

The unpreached sermon I'm writing for tomorrow's lectionary texts mentions that (though I may edit that part out -- I'm undecided about a whole lot about that sermon), but I really don't have anything to say. I've never lived in NYC (or DC), so in a lot of ways it feels like it isn't my tragedy. I can, of course, tell you where I was that day and how I found out and how that event shaped my entire college experience ... but nine years later I don't really have anything to say. I can talk about the Park51 controversy, about the guy who planned to burn copies of the Qur'an today, about immigration, about interfaith relations, about lots of things ... but I really don't have anything to say about the 9-11 anniversary.

And I wasn't going to say anything (though it felt a bit weird to post about anything else today), but Jeremy posted the opening of the first episode of The Daily Show after the 9-11 attacks. I got teary about as soon as I clicked Play. And once Jon Stewart started crying, so did I.

Other people have things to say. Things I have read today:
* Be Excellent To Each Other
* Holy Wars, Holy Texts, Holy Living
* What do Americans mean when they talk about "sacred ground?"
* "Last Words" by Michael Symmons Roberts (a poem commissioned for the first anniversary of 9/11)
light in the darkness

September 11th

I forgot about this until sweet_adelheid posted last night.

I've been thinking more about Rosh Hashanah -- which begins next Friday.  (Sidebar: I subscribed to "Jewish Holidays" on my Google Calendar, and I find it interesting that it says "New Year" and "Day of Atonement" and "Festival of Booths" rather than "Rosh Hashanah" and "Yom Kippur" and "Sukkot.")

Last night, Mary Borsellino wrote:
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, apparently, which I guess means it was yesterday in Australia really but whatever.

I am lucky because several of my closest friends have suicidal thoughts on a regular basis. That sounds completely insane, but this is how it works: we are honest with each other. We can talk about it openly and know that we'll be met with compassion and understanding, not horror and revulsion. Monsters in the dark don't have the same power when you turn on the light.

A year and a half ago, somebody important to me couldn't find that light switch for her own darkness. It was too much for her, and she died. Her death is one of the most horrifying things that's happened within the universe of the people I know and care about, and within myself.

I wrote my biography-zine, Sharpest, last year for one simple reason: I wanted other people to be able to read something which felt like a conversation, an open and sincere one of the sort my friends and I have. I've had a few feedback letters from readers which suggest that for some people, this is exactly what I've done, and those letters make me cry. If I never manage to write anything good ever again, I at least got the most important one out.

Morning always comes again. Please stick around to see it.
It was strange to me today that it was a grey day, since I remember so clearly walking back from Seelye under the bright blue sky.  (And yes, that makes me sing Ani, even though I have -- and have always had -- problems with that song.)

A recent post on the blog "when love comes to town" talked about what happened after the 9/11/2001 attacks:
  • And that is precisely what [Renee] Girrard describes in his work regarding scapegoats: pinning all of our hatred and fear on the scapegoat always unifies a society - but only for a season - and then more violence is needed to bind people together. Further, societies rarely consider the consequences of scapegoating - history is never told from the perspective of our victims - so we rarely feel remorse or act in repentance.
  • Which is why the story and reality of Jesus is unique: for the first time, Girrard suggests, history is told from the perspective of the innocent scapegoat. For the first time we can see the horrible consequences of our violence. Indeed, what makes the passion of Christ so important in NOT the horrible violence a la Mel Gibson. That, sadly, is all to ordinary. No, what makes the passion life changing is the awareness that Christ died to expose this horrible sin and invite us - with God's grace - to stop it.
I was struck by this particularly because I've been thinking about atonement theology recently.
light in the darkness

"never before or since..."

It's the 9/11 anniversary, and I never know what to say.  I lived through it, from a distance, just beginning my time as a student at a liberal college in central Massachusetts.  I have the usual "where were you when it happened?" stories.  But despite having friends in NYC, the actual event didn't personally affect me that much in a long-term way (certainly I was affected in the moment), though what happened after (and my particular experience thereof -- i.e., being a student at Smith) had a huge impact on me which I'm aware of just about every day.

All I really want to do is have a moment of silence.

This year, I like this post from scrollgirl.

InstaPundit linked to this piece by Jonah Goldberg from last year.  What sticks to me is his penultimate line: "It quickly became a cliché that 9/11 changed everything, but when it comes to the basic divisions of the last 20 years, 9/11 didn't change nearly enough so much as accentuate everything we knew before."

***

Today, callunav posted about the Christine Lavin song "Katy Says Today Is The Best Day Of My Whole Entire Life."  In describing the second half of the song, she writes:
her [the singer's] reflection on her own life, and how up until then she could have identified unhesitatingly the best day of her life, ten years before, and never thought about what that meant about her perceptions of the present, but today she's thinking differently because today a three year old has danced to a Tom Paxton album with her and told her that today is the best day of her whole entire life.
For a long time, whenever I thought of this song I only thought of the first half -- the babysitting story and the punchline to that.  Partly there's less of a clear narrative in the second half, so it's easy to just let the sound wash over you and not really hear the words.

I haven't personally lived the experience the singer describes in the second half of the song -- though I think it's one of the songs I considered putting on my "but then again i noticed i wasn't the only one (holding on)" mix.  [I would totally upload a copy, but my computer's not recognizing my external hard drive.]

But the way Calluna articulated it really spoke to me -- "how up until then she could have identified unhesitatingly the best day of her life, ten years before, and never thought about what that meant about her perceptions of the present" (emphasis added).
meditate

September 11th, 2007

soundingsea wrote, "It's a beautiful September morning. Sky's not the same blue, though; I'm irrationally grateful for the wispy cirrus clouds. I'm thinking of everyone, everything lost because of this day, six years back but not faded."

I've been thinking for days about how soon it would be September 11th, but I didn't even think about the weather until I saw her post.  (Here in Boston it was cool and grey and rainy today -- unlike the beautiful clear blue sky I experienced in Northampton on September 11, 2001.)

[Ann Althouse posted photos of the fog obscuring the absence of the Two Towers this morning.]

I reread sangerin's West Wing fic "Eighteen Minutes" (linked here) and it still makes me cry.

Jonah mentioned Ani's 9/11 poem recently, and I never liked it much (I remember tracking down an mp3 copy for Joe, at his request, when it was still a work-in-progress) but rereading it I am reminded of how much beautiful poetry there is in it.
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky
We watched a West Wing episode today, and a character keeps getting a busy signal and says, "The lines are jammed."  MaryAlice said, "You don't get a busy signal when the lines are jammed," and I realized, "Yes, people would know that," and sure enough then she said, "I know that from six years ago."  I did not try calling anyone six years ago.  I think everyone I knew was in NYC I found out about via the Internet.  It's weird not having an LJ record.  I remember walking down the stairs of Seelye with Becca.  I remember walking back to the house, the clear bright blue sky.  We thought it must be a joke.  I remember walking into the house and seeing people in the living room with the tv on and realizing it was true.  I remember going upstairs to my room and telling my roommate and her then-girlfriend, and how my voice faltered and the emotion of it didn't really hit me until that moment.

***

In mundane news:

I felt better this morning than I did this morning.  I did the cross training program and felt like I was working consistently, though the times aren't impressive.
1mi @ 11:48min
2mi @ 23:47min
2.56mi @ 30min


One of the first e-mails I came in to this morning was a new scheduling thing which I was cc-ed on, and the person from Company A who was delegating this said: "You can communicate with [my full name], Assistant to Prof. [full name], who is very efficient & helpful."

***

I want to do nice things for people.  A number of flisters have been making such offers recently, but I'm crap at creative stuff (I still owe first-kiss ficlets from eons ago, not to mention all my WIPs) so I don't really know what to do about that.  I owe meta and writeups, so I should probably get on that.
moon house

Five-year anniversary, and CAUMC: Esther

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Andrew -- CAUMC's intern minister whom I met at the wedding reception -- led tonight's book study, on the Book of Esther.

I recalled that Esther was one of FCCN's "Women in the Bible" series but neither reread this writeup nor read the entire book of Esther in advance.  This was probably a combination of restraint and laziness.

We started with a Veggie Tales clip -- an idea which I was strongly resistant to (it's Bible stories told for children by CGI vegetables...).  We started with the scene where the king's life is threatened, so Andrew was recapping for us who was who and what had happened so far.  This included: The king asked Vashti to make him a sandwich.  Yes, I was doubled over ded from laughter.  "Woman, make me a sammich!" was in my head for the duration of the night.  My ultimate conclusion (based on two scenes) was that Veggie Tales is MADE OF AWESOME -- in that way where that phrase does not mean what it usually means.  And if I knew somewhere that would publish it, I would be all over watching all the Veggie Tales and writing papers on how they translate the stories and suchlike.

We read Chapters 3+4 aloud.  Andrew said there are difficult names and to fake it until you make it not worry too much about that but just do one's best.  We had an NRSV printout which named the king as Ahasuerus.  He said he would be saying the name as Xerxes -- how he had learned it.  Before we had even begun reading aloud, were just looking over the pages, Michelle pronounced it as "Ahasaurus" and made a dinosaur joke.  So when it was her turn to read she called him "King Dinosaur."  I called him "Ahasaurus," Mike called him "King Tut," and Michelle's next turn she called him "T-Rex."  Yeah, good times were had by all.

Andrew mentioned the banality of evil, talked about systems etc., which then made me think of Modernity and the Holocaust (yeah SOC 101 of awesomeness).

We also talked about how God is never explicitly named/invoked in the text and why that might be.

I feel like we would have had a much more productive discussion if we all (myself included) had a lot more familiarity with the text, but it certainly wasn't bad.

We had new faces.  Not only was Michelle (whom I had met previously at wedding events) back at group for the first time since June (ditto) Andrew but we had people who had just come to church here once: Mariah (newly transplanted from Pittsburgh, working as an engineer after years of being a student) and Catherine (newly retransplanted from Florida, teaching high school math).  At Affirmations, Catherine said that Mariah was so welcoming to her, that she didn't even realize it was her first night here as well.  She was so articulate, and succinct, in her Affirmations of everyone, which really impressed me (but she went after me, so I couldn't officially Affirm her for that :) ).  Meredith+Mike are having a brief hiking trip on Sept. 23 but will still come to my party afterward, and I've really gotta just send an invite to the group; yay for peopleyness.  Oh, and tonight Meredith made spaghetti with bland tomato sauce I could stomach and pumpkin pie which I had two slices of. Oh, and Andrew brought up Song of Songs/Solomon multiple times, and I would love it if that were our study text next week.  (Its very existence/substance was news to Mariah and Michelle, both of whom grew up Catholic complete with that "We only know about the Bible what our priest tells us.")
small girl in big world [_extraflamey_]

four years . . .

Last night was a rip-roaring game of Monopoly with Michael's friend Tony. It was fun until I went bankrupt, but I've been led to believe that's really how the game is supposed to work. Michael kept throwing the dice a little too hard, knocking houses and hotels willy-nilly. Apparently natural disasters follow us wherever we go.

No word on Ophelia yet. If she does come this way, I'm going to have to scatter some rosemary to the wind. You know...for remembrance.
-Joe



My mom mentioned there was some same-sex marriage type bill up in the legislature so she thought this Sunday would be a good Sunday to not go to UCN. Of course I kinda like making trouble, so that made me want to go. Plus, I had thank you notes to drop off.

I had been reminded a couple times that today was September 11th (passing it on the calendar at work a few days ago when I went to schedule something for next week, and glancing at my phone after midnight last night before I charged it).

So there was no way I was going to the liberal Congregational Church this Sunday.

Quickly checking my flist before church I saw Alice Sebold’s (author of The Lovely Bones) NYT piece.
Do the dead wish you to suffer? Do they want you to watch CNN and Fox News for days on end? Do they want your guilt or pity? All of these things are like jewels to them. In other words - valueless where they have gone.

[...]

Whatever it is that comes to you in three months, six months, a year or more, don't turn the page of your book and forget, don't stab the elevator button trying to hurry up the trip. Stop.

These tragedies, it's worth remembering, grant us an opportunity to understand what is perhaps our finest raw material: our humanity. The way we at our best treat one another. The way we listen to one another. The way we grieve.

[...]

So grieve for the particular lives that come to you. [...] Let them guide you to understand that it is our absolute vulnerability that provides our greatest chance to be human.
I had forgotten that today is the Sunday after Labor Day and thus “Homecoming Sunday” at UCN (which also means Communion, which I continue to not take there). Assorted people I had hoped to see were not in attendance, sadly. (Though John P.’s father just died, so it was understandable that that family was absent.)

I don’t know what it was specifically that my mom had been thinking of, but there was no mention of anything in church. I was disappointed.

UCN always opens now with “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” That no mention was made of what happened on this gorgeous day four years ago made me uncomfortable.

PB did talk a bit about Katrina and the special offering they were taking -- to be funneled through the Salvation Army. I’d seen the letter that got sent to our house and it said something about “to minister to the people . . .” and I was discomfited ‘cause I was like, “Are you just gonna go preach to them or are you gonna minister to their physical needs?”

One of the opening Worship Sequence hymns was “Victory in Jesus.” I was discomfited by the incessant “victory” theme in the song, especially because the song never makes clear what the victory is (over). The “He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood” line implies to me victory over sin, which would have been my guess anyway, but I would have liked some sort of clarity.

I had recently read The Signs that We Missed, which quotes Holland telling Angel, “We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic as 'winning.' [...] See, for us, there is no fight. Which is why winning doesn't enter into it. We - go on - no matter what. Our firm has always been here . . .” Yes he’s talking about Evil, but I rather like the idea of just living one’s life the best one can, of not viewing it as a contest with winners and losers. (See also my interest in being a witness with one’s life.)

[Of course, now I have the blasted song stuck in my head.]

The Unison Reading was the UCN Church Covenant which as per usual I recite maybe ten percent of. For the first time I actually read the line, “Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit to a common life which is characterized by the love of Christ,” though. I had always connected the “love of Christ” phrase with the worship-of capacity that UCN so often places Christ in (and which doesn’t resonate with me and in fact makes me uncomfortable) but reading it today it occurred to me that it could be interpreted as something more like “abiding in Christlikeness,” which I am all over.

Jeff gave the Children’s Message because Tim&Carla were absent. He said Tim was “crying in New York” and I was confused, thinking, “Is John P.’s family in NY?” (‘cause I know the families are good friends) but then he explained that Tim had gone to NY to see the Yankees game (and of course the Red Sox clobbered them last night). He then cracked that God likes us/the Red Sox better. Wow, way to make me wanna weep while bludgeoning you. (Unfortunately, as soon as the service was over, Jeff was talking to people, and then I was talking to people, and then he left, so I have to write him a note calling him on that.)

Then he talked about the name of the church (which immediately made me think of when Joe F. gave the sermon last time I was at UCN and mentioned that unity != unison) and he referenced Ephesians 2 about how we are not strangers (looking it up later, I imagine he meant the whole “One in Christ” section) and asked the kids to look at the people next to them and talked about how they’re not strangers and how we’re all part of the family of God (the title of the offertory selection to follow, I noted), we’re all brothers and sisters with God our Father. And then he closed with a prayer and dismissed them. Shortest Children’s Message evar.

The Scripture reading was Mark 2:12 and the sermon as “Christlikeness: Forgiving.” I was confused as I always read that story as one of the proofs of Jesus’ divinity. I don’t think of “forgiveness” per se as one of Jesus’ biggest messages, but I’m not about to get all opposition-y on the matter. He talked about how Christlife “desires and requires” forgiveness, and I thought about one of the few UCN Covenant lines I will willingly recite -- “Together we will pursue the ways of forgiveness and reconciliation, and as Jesus taught, do it as quickly as possible.” On the whole I was unengaged by the sermon and totally dozed.

And dude, we got out at 5 minutes of 11. Have we ever gotten out early?




Oh, and I got sidetracked by the whole “I am newly unemployed” thing so it didn’t get posted, but I am a huge sap and the NYT Op-Ed I read last Thursday morning on the 1906 SF earthquake made me all teary.
The mayor, a former violinist who had previously been little more than a puppet of the city's political machine, ordered the troops to shoot any looters, demanded military dynamite and sappers to clear firebreaks, and requisitioned boats to the Oakland telegraph office to put the word out over the wires: "San Francisco is in ruins," the cables read. "Our city needs help."

[...]

To the great institutions go the kudos of history, and rightly so. But I delight in the lesser gestures, like that of the largely forgotten San Francisco postal official, Arthur Fisk, who issued an order on his personal recognizance: no letter posted without a stamp, and that clearly comes from the hand of a victim, will go undelivered for want of fee. And thus did hundreds of the homeless of San Francisco let their loved ones know of their condition - a courtesy of a time in which efficiency, resourcefulness and simple human kindness were prized in a manner we'd do well to emulate today.

-from "Before the Flood" by SIMON WINCHESTER (NYT - September 8, 2005)
anime night

(no subject)

I woke up this morning and the church bells wouldn’t stop ringing and it took a while before i realized that it was because today is September 11th. (I looked over at my clock and it was about ten minutes of nine.)

Later in the day, my parents e-mailed me about this. We live a block down the street from that and i got hit by a car (wholly my own fault) crossing the same street when i was in middle school.

My father was saying that when this was in the news one of the things he thought was about how one reason stuff like that gets on the news is because it’s so rare, whereas auto accidents are rather common and gee we haven’t had an auto fatality in a while.
hug

"Oh good, the rain is finally going to fall today."

So, today was September 11th. As in, 2 year anniversary of September 11th.

This afternoon when i was feeling better about my schoolwork situation i almost posted "i teeter between tired and really really tired... i've got a vision of blue sky and dry land," but anything cryptic sounding is gonna be read as about WTC and so i didn't.

After reading someone's post about patriotic clothing i realized i was wearing blue jeans and a red shirt. I usually try not to wear whatever the colour(s) du jour is/are, but i wasn't even thinking when i picked out clean, weather-appropriate clothing this morning.

Yesterday Sarah Newby posted an Alison Bechdel cartoon and i started feeling weary because every time 9/11 comes up, the administrative reactions thereto come up as well, and i have issues with those, but they're almost always different issues from those around me (because i have issues on both sides) and i just....

I wasn't going to post anything, because i have nothing to say. No one cares what my story of the day was, i have nothing profound to say, i didn't lose anyone, etc. But working on rewriting my column the second song that came up on my random playlist was Dar's "This Was Pompeii" which is not about 9/11 (it came out in 1996) but i started crying
And everyone has memories of the night that melted stone,
The neighbor's nightgown, the screaming on the phone,
And the tired man at the station says, "We can't tell who's alive"
and really, what i do is go through what other people have said and post the bits that resonate with me, so that's what i'm doing. My father sent me links to a lot of interesting articles, and i may post them tomorrow, but the moment i'm in right now... i don't want to debate all the political issues, so the only blog i pulled up was Lileks.
The world will not end. It will roll around in its orbit until Sol expires of famine or indigestion. In the end we’re all ash anyway - but even as ash, we matter. The picture at the top of this page is a sliver taken from a 9/11 camera feed. It’s the cloud that rolled through lower Manhatttan when the towers fell. Paper, steel, furniture, plastic, people. The man who took the picture inhaled the dust of the dead. Somewhere lodged in the lung of a New Yorker is an atom that once belonged to a man who went to work two years ago and never came back. His widow dreads today, because people will be coming and calling, and she’ll have to insist that she’s okay. It's hard but last year was harder. The kids will be sad and distant, but they take their cues from her, and they sense that it's hard - but that last year was harder. But what really kills her, really really kills her, is knowing that the youngest one doesn’t remember daddy at all anymore. And she's the one who has his eyes.
Yes, i cried again.

Reading TBQ's post earlier, her referencing Anya from "The Body" almost made me cry. Reading it again while preparing this entry... i really loved what she emphasized. It's the kind of tribute i want to incorporate into my mental/spiritual space.

She says, "This year I'm not mourning. Not because it isn't sad, but because mourning isn't a stage I can stay in."

She talks about two mothers who both each lost a son in the attack and how one of them spent time every day at her son's grave and wanted to build a memorial and how the second woman said "that she knew that pain, she sympathized, but that this was not the way to go. Her son wouldn't want to be remembered for dying in 9-11. He'd want to be remembered for who he was."

TBQ continues:
I don't want to stay focused on the moment of horror. I don't want to stay locked in that day of Hell. That's not what we're meant to focus on, I don't think.

Not forget it. It is obnoxiously redunant and obvious to say "never forget". It is impossible to forget. Forgetting is not the problem.

It's what we do with what we know.

I've got three nieces. One who was alive - and in Manhattan - when the Towers were struck. Two who weren't even born yet. As time goes on, I may have more, or even kids of my own.

And I figure at some point they're going to ask me about 9-11. They're going to want to know what it was like, and what we took away from it.

And I'm going to tell them: we took away greatness. We took away the knowledge - the fact - that deep down humanity has goodness. That when push comes to shove we can forget our bullshit, petty squabbling and stop giving a shit about the little details because in the big picture, the important one, we remember that we're all in this together.

What's 9-11? It's firefighters and brave civilians. It's blood donations and piles of clothing. It's those who died, and those who lived.
And she ends by quoting Jon Stewart, who may well have THE best quote regarding the day.

The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center and now it's gone. They attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that.

(And okay, i just read what TBQ wrote before the one-year anniversary and i'm crying again and i'm going to go pray some and then finish my column and go to bed.)