My last two columns have been on the subject of the origin of
life. This past week, I''ve shared with you the horrific experience
of watching the ending of life for thousands of innocent victims
of the attack on New York City and America. I was 13 years old
when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The sadness and
outrage were there but, at the same time, Honolulu was so far
away. But New York is just some 20 miles from my home in
New Jersey and, just a week before the attack, my wife and I
were there. We drove home via the Holland Tunnel, only a few
blocks from the World Trade Center - the last time we would see
those imposing structures. A month or so earlier, I took our
niece and nephew to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty,
boarding the boat at Liberty State Park, now a morgue for the
bodies of those who did not survive the New York tragedy.
The day of the attack, a friend from Arizona was to fly here for a
visit. Fortunately, her plane was canceled before it took off.
However, a passenger on one of the planes that hit New York
was one of her son''s good friends. It''s a small world. Brian and
Harry Trumbore both have good friends who, thankfully,
survived the attack. As I write this, we don''t know the number of
casualties from our town but it is significant.
I trust you will forgive me for not writing about science this
week. One''s senses become numb when such a horrible event
hits so close to home. I can only close with my own heartfelt
tribute to New Yorkers. From the Mayor on down, they have
been magnificent, above all those hundreds of fire fighters,
police and emergency rescue teams who have risked and too
often have given their lives to help others. In the past, they''ve
been called New York''s bravest and New York''s finest. They
proved it last week.
Allen F. Bortrum