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September 11, 2010

9/11 Anniversary: Up From Zero

We’ll have a lot more 9/11 coverage tomorrow after Alan Chin files pictures this evening.  In the meantime, I was  struck by this photo from this morning’s memorial ceremony. In the picture, we see the Bidens (in contrast to the sightless Governor Patterson) looking up at the frame of the currently thirty-five story 1 World Trade Center.

It’s hard not to analyze this without speaking literally and metaphorically at the same time.  The 2010 anniversary actually stands as a milestone in that American’s are no longer strictly looking into a pit, an abyss, an open wound, in commemorating the attacks. With the replacement structures on the rise, it’s interesting to consider just how much that hole in the ground has contributed to a humiliation and shame over the terror attacks, in general, and the anger and hysteria over a planned Church Street Islamic cultural structure, in particular. Because buildings are so tangible; Wall Street and these Towers were and are so representative of American muscle; and America’s pride is so closely aligned with its ego, perhaps the significance of the Biden’s “looking up” is that America finally escape that pit, and 9/11 as a narcissistic injury.

Perhaps what the expressions mark is a psychological shift in which America, no longer staring at 1 big Zero (and the burden of drawing deeper lessons), merely erases the loss of omnipotence.

(caption: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C) and his wife Jill (R) look up at 1 World Trade Center with New York Governor David Paterson (L) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at Ground Zero during the ceremony marking the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York September 11, 2010.)

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