The first hint that it’s not a normal day is the shouting that you can hear as soon as you get off the subway at the Chamber Street/World Trade Center station. It’s an angry chant, but I can’t make out the words as they float down from the street. Then you see them, after getting to the top of the station stairs — hundreds of conspiracy theorists corraled by the police. They’re carrying signs like "9/11 Was an Inside Job" and "Trust Physics, Not Bush."
A few of them have made their way past the police barrier to the Ground Zero fence. They shout all sorts of political slogans that seem inappropriate on this day of mourning and remembrance. Then, in a corner, I spot a guy with a beard and shorts standing completely still with a poster that’s also a memorial to his nephew, with a photo of the smiling young man. The uncle stares straight ahead, not speaking or seeking attention, just carrying on a silent, dignified vigil.
The fence today is filled with flowers, teddy bears, hand-written remembrances and dozens of photos of the people who died six years ago today. The photos resemble all those "missing" posters that went up right after the towers came down. I tear up looking at them in person today, just like I did seeing the scene six years ago on TV in Dallas. I stand a long time, until I hear a whirring sound and find someone is taking my picture. I have no idea why. Meanwhile, a woman in the background has gotten hold of a bullhorn and is ranting about a possible war in Iran.
Christian groups are out, too, and one of the them has hung a huge sign for "Muslims Seeking Jesus." People from all over the world are here, and I see flags from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain and lots of Canadian flags stuck through the Ground Zero fence. It’s been raining all day, and I hear one guy in a very Irish accent call them the "tears of heaven." Overly sentimental, I know, but it reflects my feelings too.
Tonight, the city will relight the twin beacons in the towers’ footprints. When I get off work, around 1 a.m. or so, I hope to look down 8th Avenue, see that reminder of what happened and say one more prayer.
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