Like all of you, nothing has prepared me for the horrors of the last twenty-four hours. Like you, I never thought I would see anything like this in my lifetime. Our world will never be the same. The streets are empty downtown except for the few who live there, trancelike, going about their day to day lives, walking their dogs, going to work, or just walking. At some ghostly unseen signal everyone turns his or her heads, crane their necks, looking to the patch of sky where, twenty-four hours ago, the mountainous peaks of those two towers stood. The sunrise was seen earlier today. No obstruction.
The likelihood of survivors is paltry. Two friends of mine offered to give blood yesterday only to be told that it was not necessary, as there weren't going to be enough survivors to warrant it. A doctor, on his way to one of the makeshift morgues, suggested the victims would number many thousands. The emergency services are listening for the ring of cell phones or cries from the acres of rubble. When buildings of this size collapse, the cinder blocks sometimes form small pockets of space in the crush. It is possible some may survive this way.
The area of New York below fourteenth street has been declared a no-go section this morning. Lonely old sidewalk crazies, a permanent fixture of this city, who yesterday were crying aloud "where are all these people running to?'" are today asking, "where are all the people?"
Small mercies for me. My family and friends are safe. At this moment in time I have no personal knowledge that acquaintances or friends may have been killed. My heart goes out to those of you who do have family or friends missing. I hope beyond hope they are found.
Life here will continue. New Yorkers are a resilient and fast thinking people. In this way they really do resemble my own Londoners. They came together quickly in massive community support and silent determination. There has been no over-panicking. Over the next few days that calm may surely turn to anger. But today, there is just numbness, a horrible silence.