I figure I'll be about 46 years old when the Freedom Tower is finished.
By then my white hair population will be pretty high, and hopefully I'll have some offspring to drag into the new memorial, whining about how they want to go see Disney Store instead. And we'll stroll into the building in mostly hushed awe, standing in silence before an inscription that lends weight to the stone in which it is carved.
"To remember those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 and as a tribute to the enduring spirit of freedom."
Well, I'll be quiet. The kids will be whining about how they want to eat pizza or cotton candy or something like that.
Maybe a TV camera crew will walk up and ask me where I was that day. Then I can smile a little and recount how I was getting ready for work when a special report came just as "Good Morning America" or some such show was coming to a conclusion. The report showed what looked like a small hole in the side of the World Trade Center and the talking heads mentioned something about a plane flying into the building.
I'll tell the television news audience of the future that as the second plane flew into the shot the announcers and a guest were talking about the possibility that this was just some weird accident. I think they said something about how commercial airplanes weren't supposed to fly anywhere near the twin towers, and I thought "Well, hey, there's another plane right there."
After the fireball of the plane's impact blossomed from the side of the other tower there was a second or two of total disorientation. Like many others, my mind distorted the context of the image into a movie special effect, nothing that had really just happened.
By that moment the television crew will be tired of talking to me and the kids will be not only screaming but tugging insistently on my clothes. So I'll likely never tell them about talking to my cousins in New York who had to get off the phone because people were jumping on top of cars in her neighborhood. She lived miles away from Ground Zero.
We'll ride the elevator to the top, not the fully 1,776 feet, I suppose, since I hear the top few floors will be unoccupied. And by that time I reckon it won't be the tallest building anymore, but I won't know the difference and certainly neither will the kids.
Could be I'll talk with somebody else about everything that had happened since the attack. More than likely at some point one of us will say "Yeah, I remember how we thought this was the worst it could get, until ?"
And we'll wonder for a second if someday our children will stand by the shattered ruins of this new building trying to sum up the shock of its destruction for yet another news crew.
I've been a bit worried about my country recently, but then I went out to see some fireworks after watching the Freedom Tower on the news most of the day. And by the rockets' red glare I thought how appropriate this form of celebration is.
America is like a fireworks display, ever shifting, full of brilliant flames that are quickly extinguished. It's a little loud and sometimes it scares small children, but you never want the show to end.
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.