Monday, December 17, 2001

Today was not my first day back in New York, but it was my first day back on public transporation. At Penn Station, a whole wall of a corridor was covered with red, white and blue craft paper. Thousands of signatures, prayers, and wishes were penned in every handwriting imaginable; from the scrawl of a kindergartner to a teen's bubbly script to the shaky penmanship of a senior. Photos, photocopies, artwork, and flowers were pinned up. Rosaries hung here and there from pushpins. Nowhere did we see curses, slurs, four-letter words, paper ripped off. Only well wishes, prayers, and appearing so many times, "I'm sorry." Mrs. Jones's fourth grade class wrote a book of poetry that I could not bring myself to open for fear that I would certainly lose it right there in the corridor. Brightly laminated butterflies covered one section, as if their wings could carry the prayers right up to heaven. It was — all of it — breathtakingly beautiful.

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