Credit: New York Times
I will always have vivid memories of last night.
In all seriousness:
-I will always remember gathering around our Editor-In-Chief’s computer, watching Barack Obama announce to the world that the man they’ve feared for so long is dead.
-I will always remember running down 14th Street with photographers, and our creative designer, looking for the crowds of people that would eventually gather in Union Square, and then Ground Zero.
-I will always remembering holding my phone, as an impromptu recorder, to people’s faces, trying to gather their opinions, their reactions, which would soon become fragments of the country’s reaction.
-I will always remember getting on the subway with my friend Pat, getting lost in Brooklyn, and then eventually making it to Ground Zero, just as the crowd was dying down (does the fact that we got lost in Brooklyn on our way to downtown Manhattan from a little less lower Manhattan make us seem kind of dumb? It’s a long story. I blame the MTA.)
-Finally, I will remember crashing on my mattress at 5. Exhausted but exhilarated.
It was complete fate that I ended up at Ground Zero. My original plan was to go home and go to bed, around 2. Then I ran into my friend Pat, who said, “fuck it, let’s go.” So we hopped on a train, momentarily thought we were going to get killed on Dekalb Avenue (the second creepiest subway stop I’ve been to, the first being the “Murderville” stop in Harlem), and made it to the site of the 9/11 attacks.
Our shoes crushed the glass on the ground, bottles smashed hours earlier. I didn’t join in on the chants, because I thought “Fuck Osama” was too simple. A cop out for all of the overwhelming emotion that this event signified. In the end, we shouldn’t have been celebrating his death. Like one onlooker told me in Union Square, it doesn’t speak well to the values of the U.S: we’re better than that. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have been there last night– Bin Laden was an awful, awful terrorist and this was a major victory. But what we should have been celebrating were the lives of the people lost almost a decade ago- thinking about them, about what this country lost, and about what we’ve built since then.
I think what comes next is a great period of reflection for the United States, especially when it comes to our foreign policy. We need to re-evaluate where we are, why we’re still fighting these wars, and if we should withdraw (we should.)
I learned a lot about being a journalist last night. At that moment, as we started to take in the enormity of the situation, we knew that we needed to change our right rail. We needed to change our front page photo. We needed to stay up all night.
I’m really tired right now. Back to being mildly amusing in the next post. Or I could just post my ten page paper about consumer culture and new media in the urban dwelling that’s due next week.