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Lights Of Hope: Report From Ground Zero

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The Curve just returned to Philly from NYC. Today was the ASCAP East Coast membership meeting, at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square. I skipped the post-meeting cocktail reception, and instead headed down to the WTC sight in time for the lighting ceremony. Walking south on Varick Street approaching to within a block or so of the site, the first thing I noticed was how quiet it was, in relation to the great number of people there. Never in my life have I experienced such a huge crowd that was so quiet and serene. As ethnically diverse as you can imagine, from all walks of life. Folks from around the world, literally, by the thousands, in an utterly peaceful congregation. While gathered in wait, strangers struck up conversations with each other, candidly, as if old friends, sharing stories of experiences and feelings. Firemen and police officers in dress uniform among us, sharing their stories. All gathered around that huge void that was once the World Trade Center Plaza, as night fell, waiting patiently for the towers to come alight. When the lights came on, it was actually hard to see them in direct line of sight from so close: the floodlights on the site kind of obscured the memorial lights from up close. But, it was when we looked up...Those two towers seemed to reach right through the heavens. As the masses slowly dispersed, we would look back occasionally, and the farther we got from the sight, the more intense and beautiful the towers appeared. Huge throngs of people, speaking a multitude of languages and accented English, moving slowly and patiently, hesitantly even, as if to savor the receding view, under a blanket of collective calm, in downtown Manhattan. That was the most striking thing: the calm. Walking back through the downtown streets, down to the subway platform, on the A train, through Penn Station...it was a beautiful night to be in NYC. It felt like a place where anybody from anywhere could feel at home. The air was chilly but clear and dry, and the city vistas gleamed innocently in a kind of poignant betrayal of the sadness of the occasion. The uppermost layers of the Empire State Building, once again the tallest structure on the Manhattan skyline, were lit resplendantly in red, white and blue, and clearly visible for many miles as viewed from a NJ Transit train travelling away. The twin towers are gone. That is sad and depressing, that void, as is the memory of those who perished as they fell. But New York City, and this great nation, and the faith of the freedom-loving folks around the world who believe in our American dream, are all joyously still intact. I have seen it with my own eyes. God Bless you all, and God Bless America. Eric Vincent Curve Dominant Sound&Vision Philadelphia USA curvdominant@earthlink.net

Eric Vincent (ASCAP)


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