We have loved them in our twenty years, we have observed them with respect and admiration for twenty years, they continue to enlighten us for twenty years. Emblematic of New York with other exceptional constructions, such as the Chrysler Building or naturally the Empire State, they have become in their architectural simplicity unique in the world and will never disappear from our thoughts.
They reflected and amplified the bright light, even in winter, enveloping a city situated on the latitude of Porto and Naples. In the heart of Wall Street, they integrated into the urban landscape and poured their population from a city into the city in the south of Manhattan, that of music and the arts. It is first of all they that we saw when we came out of the art galleries of Soho or the jazz clubs of Greenwich village.
At the end of crossing of the Atlantic, they were the first vision of the success of a humanity spread over a huge continent. They were an unmistakable center piece of the city’s Sky Line. They reassured us by the image of solidity they offered, as if the physical, geological stability of Manhattan depended on them.
They had become our towers, as New York City – after the « New Amsterdam » – is our city offered to the world and made by it. They dominated the stage of the biggest productions and world events there, with the Metropolitan Opera performing in the summer in Central Park in front of tens of thousands of people, the city illuminated in green on St Patrick’s Day. The twenty thousand participants of the New York Marathon, who came from all over the world for this event at the beginning of November, saw them in the distance – trained as guarand re-unirted dians and protectors – from the starting line of the Verrazano Bridge. The novices even thought that succeeding in reaching them after crossing Brooklyn and Queens would be their major accomplishment, when one had to reach further the heart of Manhattan after crossing the Bronx.
ll this can never be erased. The barbarism that struck them was aimed at identifying and stigmatizing, on a planetary scale, a power that would have embodied evil in history when the darkness of the soul was precisely that of the perpetrators of the crime and the distorted cause that they claimed to defend. It was also a question of ostracizing a power, either by rekindling hatred against it or by diverting those who, out of fear, would no longer dare to stand by it.
This Machiavellian project immediately and miserably failed. “We are all Americans,” wrote a great European newspaper columnist. The whole world came to mourn the destruction. President Chirac was one of the first to do so. Apart from a reaction on our part that is akin to a duty of humanity, are not the turpitudes denounced – if they are real – also ours or have we not known them ourselves?
In reality, the diabolical plan has achieved objectives opposite to those sought. Civilization will always remain united in the face of barbarism and the new forms it could take. Despite the possible and even natural differences between democratic nations, the convergence on the essential and above all the preservation of vital interests will remain intangible. This is what guided General de Gaulle without the slightest restraint at the time of the crisis of the Berlin Wall and that of the Cuban missiles in 1962.
Mentally we will continue to sail south, from Acadia, along Mount Desert in Maine, where the immense writer Marguerite Yourcenar resided – meditating about history and empires with the Memoirs of Hadrian –, in search of more light and against the ever threatening darkness. We will be guided and re-united by the eternal Twin Towers of our city that we will eventually reach, a lighthouse of our life.