A Tale of Two Cities


There was a time when you could arrive at the airport last minute, and check your bags, glide through security and quickly make your way to the departing gate.  You didn't have to disrobe, remove your shoes, check your cell phone, and be subject to pat-downs or scans that invade your privacy. You could bring on a bottle of water, a six-pack of coke, shampoo, shaving cream.  Basically, unless you carried a weapon, you were good to go.

Even car travel was easier. There was less congestion and police weren't an everyday presence on major bridges and thoroughfares.

Going to the movies, mall, sporting events, and any big gathering was quick and easy. You stood on line, showed your ticket and quickly made it to your seat.  Yea, even food packaging was less cumbersome and nobody ever told you to "say something if you see something."

Nobody cared if you built a mosque in lower Manhattan. Nobody was suspicious of a turban clad person. A lost suitcase or bag on the Long Island Railroad was just that, not a reason for delays and police with bomb-sniffing dogs.

There wasn't a 9/11..and our Country was seemingly safe. It is a tale of two cities..one that lived prior to 9/11 and one that survives now.

Yesterday, I watched the memorial ceremonies with my son. He asked why they're reading the names so slowly.

"It's because almost 3,000 people died that day" I told him. "Every life is precious. They can't read those names slow enough" I explained.

I noticed that some of the readers were young, very young. Reading the names of their fathers, mothers, uncles, grandparents, those that perished on that fateful day. They couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 on 9/11/2001. They're a new generation..a generation that never knew the way life used to be.

Now we stand on line at airports for hours, checking bags, going through security.  Being asked if we packed our bags, making sure our identification if authentic. Making sure we don't take a nail clipper on board, or shampoo or a razor.

Going to a ball game require my children to be wanded, me being patted down like a prisoner. they take our water bottles, they check our bags.

It's become a "regular" life for some because they never knew a simpler time.

9/11 brought out patriotism, unity and a resolve in New Yorkers and Americans to survive and succeed despite what was done to us. Yes, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

For many of us, It will be a time we will never forget.


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