I was not going to write of memories, still too painful to bear, of 9/11.
I was just going to post the picture taken by Carol of me and our son Matt, when he is 5 years old, and we are standing on the deck of the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty and the Twin Towers are benignly winking at us in the background. I wasn’t going to say any more.
Then my son, asked me to fill in some of his remembrances of that terrible time, and it brought so much rushing back, not counting the six years I spent in Tower Number Two of the World Trade Center, sleeping over in my office during snowstorms, when I worked with Governor Mario M. Cuomo, on the 57th Floor. The most tortuous night terrors I still have are of the days after, with the rubble of the Towers still simmering, bodies melted inside, when Carol and I walked 70 blocks from our Uptown apartment, to get near the mass gravesite and pay our respects.
Stupidly, we stopped at St. Vincent’s Hospital on W. 14th Street, to see the thousands of 8 ½ x 11 “Missing” photos of peoples lovers and children lost in the attack; an entire wall of the hospital, now gone, covered with humanity, incinerated. Young faces smiled out at me from the photos, and in each bright smile, I saw my son’s face, and cried uncontrollably at the thought of losing him, and the unimaginable losses of the parents who lost their children, smiling at them forever, from the walls of St. Vincent’s Hospital, or from the deepest recesses of their hearts.
Then, I read the White House’s website this morning, on the Anniversary of the tragedy, saw the photos of an insanely insensitive Trump raising two clenched fists as he approached the mournful crowd, and saw the news reports of Trump presiding over a Memorial Service, and my unending grief turned to unbridled anger.
In 2001, Donald Trump, New York businessman, took advantage of the deaths of the nearly 3,000 human beings he calls upon us to remember today, by sucking $150,000 out of a 9/11 Emergency Relief Fund meant for small businesses that suffered in the immediate aftermath of the attack. The Trump Organization was neither a small business, nor suffered from the 9/11 attack. This was after the soul-less cipher bragged that his building at 40 Wall Street–now that the two Towers were destroyed–was the tallest building in NYC.
He never apologized for his insensitivity, never gave the money back he stole from 9/11 survivors, never offered to pay for the school costs, or mental-health counseling costs of the chlldren of those damned to death in the Twin Towers that day. Trump used that unfathomable tragedy to his own personal benefit in his typically grotesque way, by profiting from the hardships of others.
A human being, with the faintest heartbeat, would have apologized, paid that money back and redoubled his efforts to comfort the families of those forever lost to us in the attack on 9/11. I am angry when I look at Trump’s smug face, and am reminded of the photos of all the young, beautiful faces, full of life — photos that ripped my heart out 17 years ago. I think of their faces — bright lives I can never forget — and my fury at Trump’s inhumanity, is made even deeper by my despair, which knows no end.