World Trade Center

My pocket camera was loaded with Kodachrome on September 11. Why does that matter? It has to be processed at the Kodak plant in New Jersey. I dropped it in the mail and assumed that I would not have to deal with it for over a week. Interpretations would wait.

Then the emails started to roll in from people that I had not spoken with in years. To my surprise, several messages blinked in from friends and colleagues I met during my travels in Poland. "How are you? Are you and your family safe? Give us a sign." The tone was similar to all the rest that I had received. But even before I read their messages, I remembered the devastation their country had endured a half-century before.

Walking the streets of Warsaw, there are still perceivable holes in the fabric of the city. Some are subtle, some are gigantic. It is an eerie feeling to know the reason for their existence, the result of one man's order to obliterate a city. The evidence remains today in vast open spaces and bullet-ridden masonry walls. Imagine all of Lower Manhattan in the same state as Ground Zero. This was Warsaw. Take a look at those photographs following the liberation. It is frightening.

In the following decades, the cities were rebuilt. The process is still continuing today, over a half-century later. Some of the buildings strive to be exact reproductions of the originals. Others are more interpretive. But they have been rebuilt and that is the simple intent. A violation has been undone.

It was impossible to fully understand until now.

Of course the World Trade Center will be rebuilt. It must be done. At the moment, who gives a damn if the buildings are tall or short, sleek or flaunting? That is not the point. The goal is to overcome. People find satisfaction in making. In this case, the triumph will be in re-making.