Dear World Trade Center:

I miss you.

True, I never met you in person, never had the opportunity to take the classic skyward photograph from directly between your twin towers in black and white, never learned of your engineering marvels through any direct personal experience, indeed, never once spent a moment’s time in your fabled city. And yet I miss you as I sometimes miss my grandparents or my annual childhood camping trips to Yosemite that exist now only in memory and a few scattered photographs.

I digress a little, but I want you to know about two pictures I keep close to my bed. I have a photo of my grandfather sitting on the ground, cradling me in his lap only a few months after my birth. I also have a picture of his wife of 60 some odd years next to that first photograph posing with my sister and I at my college graduation. I see these pictures daily, and with every glance I grow perhaps a little somber, not in the sense that I feel sadness, but more as though I remember some of those past moments with a smile as I simultaneously remember I’ll not have the chance to make more to add to the collection.

With you, World Trade Center, I feel that same somber melancholy.

It comes in the most unlikely of times, often in the late afternoon as I return home from class or work, flip on the television and glance at its flickering images as I make dinner, change into my workout clothes, or check my email. In those hours of syndicated reruns of Friends and the segues between scenes of the New York cityscape, or on TNT’s Labor Day movie marathon when Ghostbusters runs yet again, your image pops out, hits me unexpectedly, and reminds me of the fascination you inspired and the fact that such a fascination can now only find pursuit on Internet tribute sites, conspiracy theories and a documentary completed just before your demise.

We will talk about the people lost today, how they became victims of an attack not against armed forces but against innocents, the likes of which, in terms of lives lost, has no American parallel. We will ask if we have become safer today than before, whether the waking up on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, President’s Day or for that matter any other calendar day valuable to the American psyche and seeing the top story on our Yahoo or MSN home page that major terrorist attacks may come is worthwhile. We will scream of mass murder, atrocity, of the need to fight back, and we will continue to defend our country aggressively just as we wonder whether such a defense is right as more soldiers die so very far away from home.

But somewhere, in all these important reactions, discussions and debates, you disappear, World Trade Center. We cease to revere you as a symbol of engineering ingenuity, of ostentatious manmade beauty, of a voracious appetite for commerce and wealth accumulation, of the endless capacity for hard work. We start to cast you a symbol of what we think we once were, rather than remembering you as a symbol of who we were and who we continue to be.

And in that vein, World Trade Center, I miss you, not with the sadness of an innocence and a sense of security lost, but rather with the somber knowledge that though you have passed, so will you stay with us, just as I will forever remain Nana and Grandpa’s youngest grandson. And because of this, though it does make me feel a slight hesitance at doing so, I frame your picture here today to remember that though you have gone, you will always remain.

With much gratitude,
Hose Monster