Still, I haven’t been able to completely accept that the Manhattan Island skyline changed tragically on Tuesday. I was there with a high school field trip in the mid-80s and we paid special attention to all the buildings and the way the island was laid out because it was urban geography that we went to study, and what better place than New York City?

Manhattan Island, from the south. Taken by your friendly author in 1985 or thereabouts.

We went up the Empire State Building our first night there and I took long exposures of the city lights, and the twin towers off to the south. Later in the trip we went inside the south tower and up onto the observation deck on the roof. I was speechless in complete wonder at both the view and that the view was from the top of a solid structure. As one of the newscasters on location reporting Tuesday’s disaster said, the WTC towers were such an icon, he expected to turn and see them standing where they have been for thirty-odd years. While I’m not there, and only visited the city twice, it’s not going to be the same without them.

That’s not to say that the city is less for their loss though. The only irreplaceable loss are the precious lives taken in the aircraft, and in and around the towers. Certainly no sane person would wish this, but the selflessness, generosity, and togetherness that has erupted since Tuesday is inspiring.