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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
The World Trade Center and 9/11
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY


by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 11, 2002
New York, NY

About the Author:


By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

The following impressions and reflections from the World Trade Center's Twin Towers, prior to and after September 11, 2001, will melt into my thoughts of today, this September 11, 2002. In loving remembrance:

Brunch at Windows on the World: an exquisite table, replete with each gourmet detail my heart could desire; a few relatives and friends, and, we said, "a view to die for". Plush and perfect, we were perched on top of the world. Roses and Roquefort, cherries and champagne, songs of love, and songs of loss.

The Orchid show at the WTC: dozens of carriages, strollers and toddlers, as I escorted a Day Care Center's staff and children, through the sidewalks of New York, through the elevators, past the surprised and delighted participants: smiles and sweet photos, babies and orchids, here we were, all of us, together, a picture perfect setting, a moment to treasure.

September 11, 2001: a white cloud emerges outside my window, a constant white cloud, and thick, pungent ashes float down onto a midtown sidewalk, and I stand on my roof, a frozen moment, a longing for understanding. I listen to CNN, Mozart, Pugliese, Headline News, Mahler, Piazzolla, CBS, relatives and friends. My parents call, "Don't move!" My son calls, "This is a good day to call." A Tango friend implores me to email distraught relatives in Paris, and I compose surreal French reassurances and congenialities. Another Tango friend sends an email about escaping the collapsing white cloud by an inch.

Two days later: at two firehouses, black and purple buntings, candles and roses, I offer many containers of fruit for the sullen survivors, a new connection, new friends. At two police stations, I bring concert tickets for a Chamber Symphony, and we meet in music, in poetry, in soft remembrance, in embraces.

One week later: at SPICE, we nourish our souls with Tango, under a tent, the familiar white cloud ever present. We huddle with friends, with strangers, with musicians, with Reba and Trey, and we dance and dare anyone and anything to threaten our resolve to survive and to put closure on chaos. Through dance, we defy the unknown, the untold, the unthinkable.

Two months later: in a Chicago suburb, with my eight year old niece, I am told that she prayed in school, the entire day, September 11, that I would be safe, that she was frozen before the flag and the ceremonies, unable to breathe, to move, to think. We bonded in love, in fortune, in courage.

Ground Zero: the platform, the flowers, the photos, the shrines, the "souvenir carts", the poetry and notes, the guard, who asks me, "Why do you want two sessions to see a big space? There's nothing there."

Tonight, September 11, 2002, midnight: Tango at La Boca, at Il Campanello, and Gayatri Martin leads a minute of silence, and the dancers and gaiety freeze in place. An enormous bell is stationed on West 31st Street, Il Campanello, and the firemen and policemen proudly tell me to return in the morning, to hear the bell toll.

Later tonight, September 11, 2002: Tango at Empire Dance. I will participate in a remembrance ceremony, "a close embrace", as Reba, Trey, and I facilitate reflections and connections, in a nurturing ambiance of dim lights and warm colors and togetherness. We are here, and we have each other.

Through dance, we strengthen our bodies and souls with passion for life and sustenance for survival. Through dance, we connect heritage and culture. Through dance, we communicate in ways, which cannot be otherwise expressed. We dance to remember, to feel, to share, to live, to love.

"I think the reason dance has held such an ageless magic for the world is that it has been the symbol of the performance of living." (Martha Graham)

"Dancers work and live from the inside. They drive themselves constantly, producing a glow that lights not only themselves, but audience after audience. They personify life itself." (Murray Louis)

"I see the dance being used as a means of communication between soul and soul - to express what is too deep, too fine for words." (Ruth St. Denis)

"Friendship is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." (Aristotle)

"How sweetly did they float upon the wings
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night,
At every fall smoothing the raven-down
Of darkness, till it smiled." (Milton)

You can find more 9/11 reflections here.

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