These reflections appeared originally on Saturday, September 7, 2002 at Arthur Silber's Light of Reason blog. They are reproduced below, along with Arthur's introduction.
[REMEMBERING THE WORLD TRADE CENTER: 2001; 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005; 2006; 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016; 2017; 2018; 2019; 2020]
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
By Chris Matthew Sciabarra
Towers, from the Staten Island Ferry, May 12, 2001
Photo by Chris Matthew Sciabarra
Arthur Silber writes:
The Light of Reason, we are honored that Chris Matthew Sciabarra has
agreed to grace our site with his unique insights and knowledge on an
irregular and occasional basis. Chris is a man of already amazing
accomplishments (we say "already," only because he is still so young): he is,
among other things, the author of three books (Total Freedom,
Rand: The Russian Radical, and Marx, Hayek and Utopia), a
co-founder and co-editor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, and has
written countless other articles (including a piece about Ayn Rand's The
recently published in the NY Daily News). Go to his
and enjoy the wealth of material he has there. And, if that were not
enough, he is one of the most charming, generous and honorable men you will
ever have the pleasure of meeting. As a lifelong Brooklynite, Chris offers us
these thoughts in connection with the anniversary of September 11:
I'm writing this on Friday afternoon, September 6, 2002. I've just finished
an afternoon of watching TV; the United States Congress convened at Federal
Hall in New York City---the first time since 1790---in a show of solidarity
for the victims and heroes of 9/11. Having lived in Brooklyn my whole life,
having lived through this nightmare for this past year, I have to admit that a
part of me dreads the coming week. How many tributes, retrospectives, and
memorials will I have to see before the wound-that-has-not-quite-healed feels
like a gaping hole all over again?
It was a tough year, to say the least. Tough because I still remember walking outside on the morning of the catastrophe and being hit with snowing human ash. Tough because I knew many of the people who were vaporized at the WTC---friends, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors. Tough because I endured some pretty difficult health problems too, problems that long predated 9/11, but that were magnified by the life-and-death struggle of that day. Somehow, I'm still standing.
A friend of mine just asked me: How did I do it?
My answer might sound a tad bit sentimental, but it is true: I did it because, throughout this horrific episode, I benefitted from a network of loving and caring family and friends. I did it because these people reminded me that I am a man of values, who has so much to offer. By focusing on those values, by focusing specifically on my productive work and the passion I bring to it---values that are central to Ayn Rand's Objectivism---I made it through. And that's why so many other New Yorkers have made it through.
Of course, it also helps to have a dog; my Blondie has been with me for a dozen years---and she is the embodiment of loyalty... especially when she is being fed doggie treats.
As for life in New York... as they say in that song, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." Will we survive this? Fuhgedaboudit!
Still, anyone who lives here knows that there remains a certain jittery quality among New Yorkers, whatever our resilience. During this past summer, when a Con Edison transformer exploded in Manhattan causing a blackout---and, simultaneously, coincidentally, a group of F-16 fighters was passing overhead on its way to a Yankee Stadium tribute---people's faces communicated a weariness and fear that is rarely articulated, but still extant. We worry about suicide bombers in subways or on crowded streets. Some of us are just waiting for the next experience in terror.
But we do not sit still. We go to work. We dig ourselves out of the ruins. We are still angry that this happened. And we are damn proud of our city---which is still the center of the universe.
So we're now arguing over the future of Ground Zero. What else is new? We're New York, New Yorkers, after all!