For those of us old enough to have been around sixteen years ago, it’s still as fresh in our memories as what we did this morning; got up, had breakfast, turned on morning TV, watched our world change forever.
Joe and I, who then lived in New Jersey during the fall and winter months, were here in Minnesota on one of the most beautiful sunny days ever. I remember feeling no emotion as I watched horror after horror unfold on TV; that would come later. I remember explaining to and commiserating with family members and friends. I remember being impressed that all TV stations, every one, suspended their broadcasting schedules to broadcast live feed from the networks. I remember flying into Newark a few weeks later, looking at New York’s diminished skyline. I did not go to Ground Zero.
Among the many stories and memorials and tributes and grieving, a poem written by BJ Ward stands out. It is entitled “For the Children of the World Trade Center Victims.” BJ’s actual day job is being a poet; he is an assistant professor of English at Warren County Community College in New Jersey and conducts writing workshops in public schools throughout the state. I had met him on several occasions where he had recited his poetry, which was not to be missed. After he wrote and published this poem it was cast in bronze and is now on display at Grounds for Sculpture, an outdoor sculpture museum in Hamilton, New Jersey. I was fortunate enough to see him recite the poem a few months after September and with the anniversary of that awful day coming I am honored to share it with you.
The poem is in his book Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, from North Atlantic Books in Berkeley CA.
(Editor’s note: Joe and Nancy Hilber, lived in New Jersey from 1970 to 2002, and were closely affected by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attack on the twin towers in New York City. The following poem was written by a friend, and is re-printed with permission here.)