9/11/01 11:30 amOur city is bleeding. My phone has not stopped ringing. The news reports are horrifying. This is my backyard and I have to go, to try to get my head around it, to listen and respond. My bicycle will be the surest way to get 60 blocks from here. I ride.

Scores of people are walking north, heading north. A mass migration of broken people head north looking for safety.

Has this happened before?

Along the Hudson River, I ride my bicycle past a golfer who practices his putting; runners jog by, sirens and fire engines rush by. Women in power suits and no shoes walk north past workers who gather around truck radios listening for the latest updates on the attacks. Mobs of teenage students also stroll north, chatting as if nothing has happened. As if life in New York City is always chaotic and terrifying. Every other person is trying to talk with someone on a cell phone, trying to meet up with friends or find a colleague. Everyone is looking for someone as the smoke lingers over this southern end of the most powerful city in the world, but certainly not the most invincible. Not now.

People with suitcases walk up out of their hotels that were in the shadow of the now-blazing towers. I hear a tourist comment on the weather: "It's a nice day today, isn't it?" Commuters walk in the hot September sun, stranded, numb, eager to get home. Home will never be the same.

Reporters turn human and cry on air in the television I see inside a diner. Someone shouts that eight planes have now attacked the U.S. Terror invites dramatic terror.

I stop at 42nd and 10th, unable to ride any further south because so many people crowd the streets and the bike paths. Police are directing traffic. One woman in a van frantically tries to flash her ...

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The End of the World (Trade Center)
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September 2001

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