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standing tall

Of all the pictures I took at Ground Zero last week, it was this one, of the steel cross, that really sucker punched me, followed by this one.

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.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference standing tall:

» And don't miss this post... from Sheila Astray's Redheaded Ramblings
by Michele.... [Read More]

» Submitted for Your Approval from Watcher of Weasels
Here are the links submitted by members of the Watcher's Council for this week's vote. [Read More]

» Sad, Mad, and Glad from AlphaPatriot
On this, the second anniversary of the horrific attack on America, I recommend these three posts: I just don't think you can read this moving post by Michele without tearing up a little. After you read that, go read this Jeff Jarvis piece about the PB... [Read More]

» The Council Has Spoken! from Watcher of Weasels
The winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Proud to Boycott by Alpha Patriot, and Don't Tell Me This Is "Progress" by Electric Venom. All members, please be sure to link to both winning entries (and to the full results of the ... [Read More]


I can't read the stories because the background picture of the girl is too strong

I'm not a religious person but I know a symbol of hope when I see one.

Well said, Michele.

Last year at this time I made my first trip to the site. The cross really got me. Almost like God was saying, "Yes, the towers collapsed, but you have not been forsaken ..."

I could be making that up, though. I like your description of it as a symbol of hope.

I look at the "cross" as a sign of hope. But I can't understand how many lives just went "pfft". Just like that. It's all a mystery.

You know, I've thought about questions like yours, Lauren, and I guess what it all comes down to, for me at least (being one of those believer types), is that I have to think that in His grand scheme of things the joy and the suffering of life on earth are puny insignificant things compared to ... that afterlife stuff us believer types believe in.

Not so much of a mystery if one can look at it that way.

Wait until the Separation of Church and State crowd complain that the cross promotes Christianity and demand it be taken down. That confrontation will make the Alabama Ten Commandments issue look like an old ladies' tea party.

Sean, they already have. An atheist group has demanded that the cross not be part of the permanent memorial.

I'm not even religious and I want to tell them to go do the Linda Blair.

I'm Jewish. I'm Orthodox. The Cross doesn't bug me. Not one bit. May it be an omen of America's ultimate triumph against the Dhimmicidal Muslim Crescent. American Christianity, unlike European, seems to have thrived to become a force of good.

As Dennis Prager often notes, there is a three-way kulturekampf:
- Dhimmicidal Islam
- Secular Euro-Socialism or
- Judeo/Christian values with a secular-but-religious-friendly government.

Pick a side.

p.s. But for those who are into omens, I suggest that a LITTLE skepticism is in order. The WTC was built with right angles... millions of them. That a few survived the cataclysm was inevitable. There was no way a Star of David or Celtic rune would have emerged. But that people find inspiration and get enthusiasm (from the Greek root words meaning "to be filled with God"), that's a good thing, no matter what its source.