Two days after the disaster, a construction worker found several perfectly formed crosses planted upright in apit in the rubble of the heavily damaged 6 World Trade Center.
The large, cross-shaped metal beams just happened to fall that way when one of the towers collapsed. An FBI chaplain who has spent days at ground zero says he has not seen anything like it on the vast site.
As word of the find has spread at ground zero, exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed rescue workers have been flocking to the site to pray and meditate.
I'm not a relgious person but I know a symbol of hope when I see one. For a time, the steel cross that was then erected in the rubble of the World Trade Center became a beacon of hope and prayer for so many. It is, at this time, all that a visitor to Ground Zero can see of the ruins of the two towers. It stands there like a sentry, guarding the place where all that remains of so many people are ashes and soot and the ghosts of their footsteps walking through the halls of buildings that no longer exist.
My father has his own miniature version of the cross. I've repeated what I wrote the day I first saw that cross - given to him by a fireman who made several crosses by hand forged from steel from Ground Zero - and touched the remnants of a tragedy:
I ran my fingers across the discolored metal. It was rough and heavy and parts of it flaked beneath my fingers. My mind could not reconcile that piece of worn steel with the towers that used to be part of the New York skyline.
I imagined that the energy of every person that died that day was captured inside of something I held in my very own hands. I could not hold onto it any longer. I put it down and cried. More than six months later, I cried, again
And still, when I go to my father's house and I look at the cross on his shelf I sometimes have to look away because it is too much for me to bear, to know the history of that burned metal, to know where it was and what it is made of. To touch it is to touch tragedy.
I cannot imagine how the people who are working at Ground Zero now do their jobs every day without being haunted by the past.
I cannot imagine how the rescue workers sleep at night without being innundated by streams of memories of the smell, the sound, the horror of digging through dirt and glass and pieces of office equipment, knowing that the chances of finding someone alive were so slim.
I can't even look at a photograph or a small cross of steel without my eyes filling with tears.
The weather is beautiful today. The sky is a deep blue, the clouds are perfectly formed bundles of white, the air is crisp and cool; chilly enough for long sleeves but warm enough to keep the windows in the car rolled down.
It's a day just like that day. It was a perfect day, for a while.