Reflections on Loss and Hope, Then and Now

Reflections on Loss and Hope, Then and Now

By Andrew Pisani

With the 19th anniversary of September 11, 2001, drawing near, you realize how quickly time passes. For me, that day remains as vivid as ever. I was just two blocks north, on Church Street, when the first plane flew less than 80 feet over my head on its way to destruction.

As I reflect on that day, I remember all those lost and think of what is truly important in my life—my family, my friends, my co-workers. As most of us who were affected by the events of 9/11, we process that day in our own way. Some choose to remember; some choose to forget.

No matter how you choose to grieve and heal, we all face the reality of the passage of time.

When you look at the World Trade Center site today, it’s a tribute to the American spirit. You have to marvel at the workers, their skills, and their creations: the minds of the architects and engineers, the physical skills of the craftsmen, what everyone has collectively accomplished at the site. The building is beautiful and monumental, amazing and reflective, joyous and somber. A tribute to the past and future at the same time.

From my tenth-floor office window—positioned directly across from 1 World Trade, 3 World Trade, 4 World Trade, and the iconic Oculus—what I see today is a physical embodiment of American pride.

Set against the backdrop of this city’s history, 19 years is a blink of an eye. Time moves on, our skyline evolves. Those of us who lived through the events of that day remain forever changed.

As we approach the upcoming anniversary, our hearts are weighed down by the added pain of friends and family lost to the current pandemic. Unemployment levels not seen since the Great Depression. Civil unrest in every city, senseless killings, uncontrolled wildfires. Cancellation of in-person education (temporarily, we hope). The demise of family-owned businesses. Bankruptcies of major retailers. And New York City, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, remains a shell of its former self.

For many of us, 2020 cannot end soon enough.

Despite this extra baggage that 2020 has given us, I hope we do not lose sight of what happened here 19 years ago. Please take a moment to take a deep breath, hug your loved ones, and say a prayer for those we have lost, both then and now.