“We shall never forget” — that was the motto that echoed through New York City and the entire country after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And indeed, we haven’t forgotten. Especially not those of us who call New York City home.
We remember it every time we walk through the financial district or see an outdated postcard of the city skyline. It may not always come up in conversation, but it affects everyone who lives here in some way — a friend or loved one lost, a memory of walking down Church or West streets just hours or days before, a different consciousness of what it means to live in New York.
The wake of 9/11 wasn’t limited to personal tragedies, or shifts in the meaning of New York life for its millions of residents. It also brought changes in daily life.
A New New York
A heightened awareness followed in public transportation, including safety advisories broadcast throughout subways and train stations about caution with unattended bags or suspicious activity. Workplaces have emergency response kits among their supplies, including such things as water pouches, energy bars, an emergency blanket, dust masks, a plastic whistle and 12-hour green light-stick. From Brooklyn brownstones to Upper West Side apartment blocks to Long Island City lofts, homeowners have established evacuation plans.
Litigation has changed, too — and not just from the ever-changing policies of Homeland Security. Cases closer to home, such as wrongful death suits against the airlines and security contractors by both families of 9/11 victims and owners of the WTC towers.
More complicated, both emotionally and legally, was the mass case brought by first responders and other relief workers who alleged injuries as the result of helping with rescue, recovery and debris removal efforts at Ground Zero—a process in which The Oshman Firm performed a supporting role.
Cases like these seldom make headlines. They are the strange, complex underside of a national tragedy. But New Yorkers are used to navigating life’s complications, whether it be weaving through traffic, figuring out a subway map, moving into a fifth-floor walk-up apartment, or rebuilding life in the wake of tragedy.
For every one of us who will attend a memorial service this week, answer a phone call from a family member in another state to ask how we’re doing or simply reflect on the passing of time since 9/11, New York City remains the greatest city in the world, and one we are proud to call home.