On 12/10/01 I went to the Irish Arts center in New York, to see the documentary on Fr.. Mychal. I was impressed, it also got me choked up, it was quite moving. I couldn't go home though when the film was over. Not before taking a trip to the site. I have been in the city many times since 9/11/01 but I have avoided going down there. I didn't want to seem like a gawker or something. Well I needed to go this night.
As I approached I met some of NY's finest, I chatted with them for a moment and wished them a Merry Christmas, it might have been my need to decompress as I approached the site. Decompress, from the world where we get by, to the place which we are trying (maybe subconsciously) to forget or avoid. The little delays as I walked from Foley Square towards the site, were little resting points to prepare me for what I was about to see. What I didn't know then was, there is no preparation for what you see down there.
I took a wrong turn, well it was what was meant to be, I ended up in front of the church where the Firefighter heroes had brought Fr. Mychal, after he died. St. Peters is a huge building looking more like the Public library then a church. A fortress in size. A safe place for anyone who was trying to get away from the devastation on 9/11. I looked up, saw the name on the granite and stopped to awe at the structure. Then, pictured what that area must have been like on 9/11. I said a little prayer, then moved on to Broadway. Walking along I noticed there were many people there and they were strangely quite, except for the construction noise. I was about a block away from the site. The smell in the air was arid. It smelled like wires burning. The smoke still rises from that place. It's like all the souls of all the loved ones passed, moving in a slow line into heaven.┬
It began to rain a light mist. To me it was like a baptism into reality as I walked the 4 blocks of the rubble. 16 acres of rubble. It is a moving and life changing experience to see the walls of good wishes and prayers from thousands of people, from all over the world who share in our grief. to see the site of the atrocity is a must for anyone who can make it.
I saw the buildings fall in my mind as I listened to the radio on 9/11 while going to get my daughter out of school. Who knew that day when it would end. I wanted to be with my daughter when this was going on. For me and her. This event taught me again what is important in life. The visit to the site was like a wax seal on my heart to ice it into my memory forever. Fr. Mychal would have wanted us to forgive. I am sorry to say it is imposable for me to do that. I have learned in life two things best said in the Movie Rudy "1. There is a God and 2. I am not him." Well I will leave it in Gods hands to forgive. I will never forget or let anyone else forget what took the life of the greatest man I ever knew and thousands of other fine people. In the words of George Bush today "Everyone who┬ died was the most important person to someone in life." Well my heart goes out to all those special people who lost their most important person on 9/11.
I will end this with the words of our National Anthem, the last verse, which are rarely heard:
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Michael P. Randazzo 12/11/2001