September morn

"September morn" Continued...

Issue: "Remembering 9/11," Sept. 10, 2011

The theme she saw in New York was "that religion and people's reliance on God in a time of crisis was very evident." It became a time when strangers cared for strangers, residents wanted to express resilience rather than retreat, and the city displayed its emotional and spiritual side much more publicly than in the past. "I think New Yorkers had a sense of how we behaved would represent to the world American strength," she says. "And American compassion, too."

Many believe that 9/11 brought a transformation in the city that's contributed-along with expanded law enforcement-to a significant drop in crime. Major felony offenses in the city have dropped from over 162,000 in 2001 to 105,000 in 2010-a 35 percent decline.

Alongside that decline has been growth in the number of evangelical houses of worship in the city. The majority of evangelical churches in Manhattan today began in 1988 or after, but an acceleration in church growth was most noticeable after 9/11, according to the online magazine A Journey Through NYC Religions. Almost 40 percent of evangelical churches in Manhattan started since 2000. In September and October 2009 one new evangelical church opened its doors for worship every Sunday.

Kirkpatrick's life also has changed in a decade. She retired from the Journal in 2009 after nearly 30 years at the newspaper. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, serves as a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and is completing a book about 20,000 Christians in North Korea who have escaped their oppressive regime through an underground railroad through China and other countries in Asia.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp purchased the Journal in 2007 and moved it to midtown Manhattan near the Rockefeller Center in 2009. The paper continued to figure prominently in the unfolding war on terror. In Afghanistan, a Journal reporter in late 2001 bought a pair of looted computers that turned out to have been used by leaders of al-Qaeda to plan assassinations and chemical and biological attacks. Shortly after that, al-Qaeda kidnapped the Journal's South Asia bureau chief, Daniel Pearl, and later beheaded him.

Kirkpatrick often wrote about national security and military affairs for the Journal's editorial page. The events of 9/11 made "the dangers we face as a nation" more clear to her-and she says she's surprised that the Obama administration so far has continued in the broad framework the Bush administration established for fighting a war on terror as 9/11 forced the nation to realize that "we need to do more to protect ourselves." Overall, she believes Bush's actions will be regarded favorably: "History will look more kindly on him than how people left of center have viewed him."

Her own path mirrors what she says is a more religious New York City than it was 10 years ago: "When there is a crisis in a family-or the urban family of New York City-people turn to their religion in a way that they might not" normally. Kirkpatrick attends a church in Manhattan's Upper East Side, Park Avenue Methodist, as well as a Methodist church in Barkhamsted, Conn.

But she believes the feuds and delays over rebuilding the World Trade Center site are "a national disgrace." The way city, state, and other interests have fought, she says, "was a big contrast to the way the city came together in the days after September 11."

The terrorism attacks transformed the nation's bustling financial center into a war zone, with the acrid smell of concrete dust, ash, and remains blanketing the air. Today dust fills the air again, but it's accompanied by a symphony of jack hammering, dump trucks rattling, and workers yelling amid the tenor of clanking metal. Sixteen construction cranes loom over Ground Zero, their long necks bobbing like doting giraffes. Everywhere, dusty workers in fluorescent yellow vests lumber in and out of buildings and mix with the flow of tourists toting cameras and shopping bags. Overhead, workers in hard hats are slowly dressing the raw steel and concrete bones with mirrored glass.

Only one tower will replace the twin towers. Tower One, known as Freedom Tower, is more than halfway on its way to the symbolic 1,776 feet, and to becoming the tallest building in the nation. Worries about businesses returning to the area are subsiding as publishing powerhouse Condé Nast signed a 25-year lease for 1.1 million square feet-a third of the space in Freedom Tower-for its global headquarters. All construction is expected to be complete by 2012.

"It is such a complex project that you don't have time to stop and think about it," said Steve, a construction worker who said he was not allowed to give his last name to reporters. "But most of the guys are taking this more personally."


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