It's an obvious observation, but the two ones, side-by-side, still strike me. Last night the city had two blue pillars of light representing the fallen two towers, a beacon of 11 shining through the sky. I saw it on my way home from dinner. I had forgotten that it was Sept. 10 and what that meant for the next day. 11 years is a long time. In that time, many things have changed. A memorial was built. A new, hideous useless tower is well under construction. There was even already a fire at the new tower, on the 88th floor. Lapses in safety inspections led to a fire at the former Deutsche Bank building (so heavily damaged and contaminated with asbestos and other chemicals on Sept. 11 that it had to be taken down more or less by hand) that killed some firefighters. A new transit center is being built at Fulton Street, and a new Path station was already built. Downtown adapted. Many people incorporated the horror into their psyche and moved on.

Of course, the destruction of that day impacted some families and people more than others. My heart goes out to them. But most of them, like all survivors of tragedy, are continuing their lives. The paths are different, and sadness lines the tracks, but they too go forward.

At the Republican convention in 2012, former Gov. Jeb Bush somehow felt unashamed in telling viewers that the his brother's administration kept us safe. It is almost so ludicrous that it is laughable. Certainly they kept us safe, except on that one major day where they really, really didn't. Could they have prevented it? An excelllent piece in today's New York Times says they ignored urgent news from the CIA that this was likely to happen. Maybe they could not have prevented it had they actually focused on those warnings. Maybe it was one of those horrendous, terrible events that happens no matter what.

The problem is that we don't know whether it could have been prevented because the people in charge never tried to prevent it. Then they immediately used their negligence as an offensive, saying this was no time to criticize our leaders. We needed to come together. (Which we did need to do, and we did do.) However, questions in a democracy are necessary. I also know in my heart of hearts, had a Democrat been president on Sept. 11, 2011, and this attack happened, that the Republicans would throw unity out of the door on Sept. 12. They have so little shame that they are still insisting that the Bush administration kept us safe without (as usual) taking responsibility for when it failed, enormously, to do so.

So it has been 11 years. A lot has changed, and at the same time, nothing has changed. A moment of silence for that terrible day 11 years ago and its aftermath for us all.

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