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Journeys of the Questress - WTC
May 30 - Tunnel At the End of the Light
Home
The Way it Was - 1
The Way it Was - 2
Sept 19 - When Tomorrow Never Comes
Sept 27 - Oral Interpretation
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 1
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 2
Oct 5 - A Mile of Tears - Part 3
Oct 11 - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Oct 28 - Each Day I Search the Rubble
Nov 12 - When Spires Fall
Nov 19 - 911 The Rape of America
Dec 14 - Just A Thought
Dec 18 - A Sense of Place
Feb 2 - Final Pass to the End Zone
March 3 - Sitting on the Edge
March 14- Do You Still Remember
March 20 - Virtual Walk-Through
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 1
March 25 - When Will It End - Part 2
April 1 - Towers of Light
May 14 - View From Above
May 30 - Tunnel At the End of the Light
May 31 - Seventeen Hundred
Aug 9 - From the Margins Erased
Aug 30 - The Train Doesn't Stop There Anymore
Sept 9 - Ceremonies of Light and Dark
Sept 10 - Just An Anniversary
Sept 12 - September Holds Great Promise
Literary Reflections
Rebirth and Resurrection
The Winter Garden Springs To Life
The Winter Garden Springs To Life - con't
Underpass to the Past
Rebuilding Ground Zero
Under Hallowed Ground
Borders
Yahrzeit
What Will Fill the Void?
I Submit a Design
Footprints in the Dust
My Memorial Design Submission
My Memorial Design - Drawings
New Path Train Station
Path Station Tour
May We Never Forget
That Which Surives
War Without End
4th Anniversary
Footprints in the Dust
Void
I Miss 9/11
Time Comes Between Us
A Thousand Cranes
Fear Factor
Love Letters On The Wall
Empty Chairs
Sitting on the Edge of Forever
Walking the Perimeter of Emptiness
A Counting of Days
For Friends Absent But Not Forgotten
Stigmata
The Memory Keeper's Promise
Unbreak My Heart
Standing On The Edge Of Forever
Both Sides Now
A Memory In Time
The Gravity of Loss
The Survivors Rise Up
Flowers Will Bloom
The Fire Within Us
The Sentinel
Stronger Than The Storm
Between the Candle and the Stars
Ghosts
A Journey Through Remembrance
Canticle of Remembrance
Beyond the Crucible of Chaos
Journey Through Remembrance project
What See We Now
Forever In Our Hearts
Keeping the Flame Alive
The Rebuilding of Ground Zero continues
Does Anyone Care Anymore?
Where Is Our Story Teller of Pain
At Memory's Edge
Dust Thou Art and to Dust Thou Shalt Return
7x7x70
Heroes Never Die
The Flame Inside Our Hearts
The Year of the Heroes of 9/11

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Tunnel At the End of The Light

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It was Memorial Day and I decided to go into NYC to visit with a friend and spend some time at the South Street Seaport. I hadn't been there since last summer and wondered what if anything had changed since 9/11.
 
I ascended to Fulton St and looked around. As I headed east, I began to notice the street vendors. They were always a fixture in that area, but today it was their wares that caught me off guard. On their tables were these photo albums, the small kind that are just large enough to hold one photo per page in their cellophane sleeves. And the photos were of the WTC. They were a pictorial collection of that horrible last hour in Sept. I leafed through one and was disgusted by what I saw. It is one thing to sell pictures of the Towers when they stood tall and stately as part of the skyline, or of the empty skyline with some patriotic wording written across. But this…As I proceeded further east there were vendors who sold individual photos. At $3 a pop you could get images not only of the flaming, smoking towers but of the ash covered people running from their collapse. At another table I picked up one of those albums and looked closely for a publisher. None. Some of the pictures were grainy, like they had been scanned from a magazine, others were very familiar to me, AP photographs lifted off some Web site. Now my disgust doubled. I asked the vendor who put these together and she said "independent photographers'. As I tossed the book back onto the table, I said in a loud enough voice for all to hear, "some of those are poor copies and you are violating copyrights".
 
But what could I do? I walked on to the South Street Seaport and decided to enjoy my afternoon. It was a nice couple of hours and upon leaving the area decided to avoid Fulton street and all those vendors. But to get to the subway, I was heading in the direction where once the Towers stood. As I walked this side street, I noticed how much more light was falling down between the buildings. Now that 'wall' at the end of the street - the Towers - was missing. The reminders were everywhere.
 
I got to Broadway (I was going to take the Lexington line uptown to have dinner with a friend) when I decided to investigate what was going on around Ground Zero. My last trip there was on Dec. 11. I had expected things would change. But not what I encountered. It was as if time had reversed and I was back on the Broadway of pre 9/11. The stores were all open, people were walking down the street in a normal fashion, gone were the tourists with their cameras, nothing even indicated that right around the corner on the next street was a big gaping hole where the WTC once existed. The only reminder of that time that I had once called the Mile of Tears, was St. Paul's and the memorials all around it. You could barely even see the viewing platform unless you were right in front of it! True, in October when I had first visited, the barricades were up on Broadway and the loss was only a month old. In Dec, the barricades had moved over to the west of Broadway but people were still making memorials out of any wall surface around. There were also Christian youths handing out literature and asking if you would like to join them in prayer for a lost loved one. Yes, most of the shops were open but the 'shop till you drop' atmosphere hadn't yet returned. So should I now be thrilled that 5 months later 'normalcy' had returned?

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I turned a corner and walked down to the street that was now the true eastern perimeter of the 17 acre WTC site. It was an empty pit. I did locate the crossbeam cross and took a few photos of that. Then as I turned to walk uptown and back to the subway, I came across some vendors. And there, right across the street from 'sacred ground' they were selling those same trashy photo albums! At that moment the biblical image of Jesus casting out the moneychangers in the temple, jumped into my mind. I wanted nothing more than to go up to them and overturn their tables and set fire to their sacrilegious goods!
 
I knew I couldn't do that, or anything else to stop them. This is, after all, a 'free' country and they had their permits to stand there and sell their wares. Wasn't it our then Mayor Guiliani and our President GW Bush, who both said, way back last year, that we should return to 'normalcy'? And I suppose what could be more 'normal' for the streets of New York then the selling of kitschy, trashy, tasteless items.
 
There is no more 'Mile of Tears'. There are few 'memorial walls' left. The streets have their shops open for business. The Pile has been turned into a Pit. This week the city plans to close another chapter by holding a ceremony at Ground Zero to put an end to the 'Recovery' phase. And down in the 'Pit' there is nothing left of the Towers. It is now 8 stories deep. Where once no sunlight fell for 30 plus years, the sun now bakes the earth. And there, in the middle of this nothing, is an opening to a tunnel. A tunnel that in all the wildest dreams of its original builders would never have pictured sunlight entering it. It is the Path train tunnel. It ran deep within the belly of the WTC complex. It carried all those thousands of people each day from across the river. It carried many of the final thousand who lost their lives on that horrible day. And today, it sits, a gaping hole. A final reminder of how 9/11 changed so much we knew. As I stare at the tunnel that is at the end of the light, I shiver knowing that one day it will be buried again. One day it will once again carry me and thousands of others into lower Manhattan.  And it will release us out onto…this…hollowed ground!
 
c 2002 Leona M Seufert