Saturday-- June 1, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 262
Ground Zero Thunder Storm
"God's Flushing His Toilet!"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City,
June 1--Heaven's floodgate opened last night. It poured
bucketsful of cleansing rain over Ground Zero.
The sky ignited with lightening. Thunder
growled deep from God's guts. It was as though all the tears
from all the Sentinels of Vigilance were shed in a final washing of Ground
Zero--cleansing the pain of all the families, rescue workers and
volunteers who had worked twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for
the past nearly nine
It has been 6,288 hours since September 11.
During that time workers feverishly crawled through every square inch of
dirt and debris in search for signs or symbols of the dead, or the very
slim chance that someone might have survived the horror of the Terrorist
attack. Love ones mourned. The nation cried in sorrow.
On Thursday, May 20, at 10:29a.m.,
the final bells tolled for the rescue operation at Ground Zero.
All the machinery dedicated to search and rescue ground to a halt.
Workers put down their shovels. Support systems for families
at the site closed their doors. It was over. The
last rock had been turned. The gravesite was dug. The
gravediggers were out of a job. If possible, it was time to
heal the wound.
At the memorial on Thursday, we saluted the
final moment when the search stopped. Family, workers, loved
ones, police, fireman, emergency workers, volunteers stood in honor as the
last stretcher was walked out of the Ground Zero pit to the tattoo of
drums rat-a-tatting a death march cadence. The flag-draped
stretcher was placed in an ambulance and hauled off, cleansing the site
"officially" of any of the 1,000 unidentified victims bodies, ending
any hope of ultimate closure for thousands of family members.
The gravesite of Ground Zero was officially
transformed into a construction site at 10:30a.m, May 30, one minute after
the ceremony began. All tears shed that day made their final
union with the blood of 2,800 souls who died in the disaster.
"Officially," it was time to move on--time to bury the pain of the past to
make room for the joys of the future.
For the past two days I have suffered nightmares.
Horrors of my past loomed up as I slept. In my own life, the Ground
Zero ceremonies seemed to open a floodgate of images trapped in my soul's
dark caves, for they rose up in my dreams to both haunt me and to escape
their hiding places.
I didn't tell anyone about them. When I
closed my eyes they came up from the bowels of my being to remind me that
pain and suffering is part of me, part of all humankind. I had
stuffed so much for so long that I could no longer restrain the weight of
I almost didn't want to go to sleep.
I didn't want to return to the Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies of
my life--to those days when Terrorism ruled my every thought.
But I had no choice. Participating in the Ground Zero
ceremonies seemed to rip a hole in my soul--driving the Beasts of Terror
to the surface of my consciousness where they gleefully frolicked in my
I am not a dreamer. Or, at least, I don't
remember dreams. But over the past two days they have dominated my
thoughts, their visual power replaying during waking moments. At
first I was confused and troubled about them. But last night I knew
what they were about.
The sky erupted.
claps of thunder roared as the sky clapped with thunder and sheets of rain
fell smothering everyone and everything in the purity of rainwater.
My wife and I were babysitting our grandchildren, Matt, 5, and Sarah, 3.
They sat cuddled in their G-Ma's arms staring out the window into the
garden, eyes agog, waiting for the next thunder clap, the next ignition of
lightening that cast the room in a pale illumination.
"Why is the thunder and lightening, G-Pa?" My
grandson asked the question innocently. He and his sister had just
had baths and were cuddled in terrycloth towels shaped into animals,
a dinosaur for Matt, a rabbit for Sarah.
"God's flushing his toilet," I said.
Matt scrunched up his nose. "G-Pa!!!!! That's not
We joked about it. The words had just popped out
of my mouth.
It was that way for me. It seemed the clog
in the toilet pipes of my soul had been flushed by the Ground Zero
ceremonies. It was as though God was flushing my soul, and
perhaps all the others, of the sewage of the past, flushing out the waste
of thoughts that made one tremble in silent fear of shadows and thoughts
trapped in a bottleneck of emotional plumbing.
I had no better explanation--at least, for myself that
Ironically, our toilet had clogged recently. We
live on the fifth-floor of a pre-WWII apartment, well over a hundred years
old. The water poured out and flooded the apartment below us.
We were unreachable that day and came home to find the superintendent had
turned off the building's water because of the flood caused by our toilet.
We had been having trouble with the toilet. It
even flushed itself with no one pulling on the plunger. The 'super'
had been up a number of times to fix it, but it didn't resolve the
problem. Now, he replaced the guts of the mechanism.
I wondered if God, or the Great Spirit Above, appreciated my
humor. I imagined Him flushing a great toilet, full
of pure water, and letting it sweep away the bile of the souls
When I walked out of the apartment on my way to join my
wife to baby-sit I stood in the middle of the storm under an eve as
the rain plummeted down. I stepped out for a moment and let it
wash over me, cleansing me, driving the demons of my past out of the
It felt good.
I thought about the Sentinels of Vigilance.
Perhaps this rainstorm, these sheets of water dropping from the sky, were
their tears. Perhaps it was their way of letting those of us
trapped in human form to know they were sorry for our pain and suffering,
and shared in our anguish.
Tears, I knew, were about purification.
They were lens cleaners--the Windex of the soul. They came to
clear away the dust and debris that fogs one's vision, clouds one's
outlook on life. I lifted my face upward and let their
cleansing drops pound against my face and eyes, flushing from my pores the
restlessness I had felt.
"Don't be silly, G-Pa," my grandson said to me.
"God's not flushing a toilet..." He tried to be serious but giggled
at my analogy. I laughed with him.
"Okay, Matt," I said, "It's not God flushing His
toilet, it's all the angels flushing theirs..."
I smiled at the youthful innocence
of the two Children of Vigilance nestled on either side of my
wife. My grandson leapt out of the chair and crawled
up on the couch next to me. He gave me a hug.
The rain, I thought, was good. It was
washing all of our Ground Zeros of Terrorism. It was flushing
clean the sewers within those of us who had been clogged with pain that
had not been released.
I scratched my grandson's head and waited for the next
clap of thunder and sounds of the rain pounding down.
I knew I would sleep well that night--and I did.