The three towers

Tower Records and Twin Towers.

All came down.

I remember watching it over and over in disbelief.

My “where were you when Kennedy was assassinated” moment. My friend even commented on my being so upset.

And I remember blurting out that a culture with Howard Stern throwing bagels at cream-cheesed butts on TV  was in collision with a culture which condones woman stoning. The two could not co-exist .

Yet, after nine years, I saw a planned Quran-burning pastor standing next to a Muslim cleric who wants to build a Mosque in lower Manhattan.

It’s an unusual line up on PBS, yet not Howard Stern show.

Things have never been the same after the three towers came down.

After 11/9, we no longer have East Germany. After 9/11, we live life so exposed and vulnerable (traveling has been more difficult, with shoes off etc…).

I am sure I have mailed less packages, if at all. We read more and know more about
the Others (I wouldn’t have known about the many shades of Islam in Iraq for instance, thanks to the likes of Thomas Friedman, expert on Middle East affairs. )

And suddenly, we find ourselves living in a multi-polar world, one in which nations stand together to condemn acts of terrorism and extremism.

(I am glad people with decency spoke up against the Gainesville pastor’s plan and bluff).

Have we learned anything? or just react Pavlovianly?  Tit for tat. A bagel here, a stone there.

I couldn’t articulate my feelings to my friend. I am not sure I can now, after years of processing those emotions.

I just knew then that the world, as we knew it, would never be the same.

It flash backed that mass grave scene in Hue I saw on TV back in 1968 (Tet), when CBS anchor said it was a stalemate -signifying VN war ‘s turning point.

With 68 came 75 and my vanishing innocence.

With 9/11, my confidence in Good triumph over Evil. What a decade it has been (for both towers and treasury).

I couldn’t tell my friend then how I felt since I was in shock (while he was probably in denial) .  I realize now, that even with the same event, people react in various ways. I hear myself pledge my allegiance once more to the flag, but knowing that I am too old to enlist. It’s a different kind of warfare now. But it still demands courage, sacrifice and willingness to draw a line in the sand. Evil hasn’t changed. Just its manifestation. And we need not to forget enormous harm it has brought on us all, one tower at a time. When Tower Records folded, it was quoted that “it was the day the music died.” 9/11 has been humanity’s double death. We are mourning still, widows, widowers and watchers by. The only thing that should be burned is the hate that resides in us all. Don’t take it out on anyone or anything. Use it, to rebuild better towers.



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