I've just finished reading Don DeLillo's "Falling Man." Actually, I finished it two nights ago but I find myself thinking about it in odd moments. The beauty of "Falling Man," I think, is that it takes a world-changing event and scales it down to the effect on two people.
Like most of us, I witnessed 9/11 on TV. I still find it difficult to talk about. And if it affected me so deeply, how much more could those who lived through it, who witnessed it, who lost loved ones to it be suffering? Here is DeLillo's brilliance as a novelist: he allowed himself to imagine the horror of that day for those trapped in the buildings and wrote about it in non-emotive language that is all the more moving for its simplicity. He didn't make any political statements for this event didn't affect politicians; it affected people. The most moving part of the book for me is the last portion. I don't want to give too much away in case others want to read it. I will say that it is well worth reading. It doesn't contain any hokey patriotism, which I feared it would. It's not about America the Great and Beautiful. It's about how ordinary lives are changed by extraordinary events.
It's been six years since I last visited NYC, a mere two weeks before the planes flew into the Twin Towers. My children and I stood on the Jersey side while my husband had a meeting with a colleague. We ate hotdogs and I pointed out the Twin Towers and other landmarks to them. I told them about when their father and I met 10 years before in South Street Seaport. Later, we ate Italian food in the Bronx and my children fell asleep on my lap. Two weeks later I sat in my living room in tears as I watched this loud, brash, cocky city brought to its knees. My son, only 5 years old, laughed. I asked him why he was laughing. "I've never seen a woman cry before," he answered.
Much has happened in our world since then. A war that had to be started. Another started to take attention away from the fact that the first one was being lost. More bombings, more people dying, more people hurt. More people scared. Useless and annoying security checks. And who is winning the War on Terror? I think the terrorists are, for whenever and wherever there is terror, they have achieved their objective. Far better to carry on as before, to live ordinary lives as ordinarily as possible.
When looking for a photo of the Twin Towers as they were, I came across this website: http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/info/index.html. Very interesting. Very disturbing.