On this milestone anniversary, five years since 9/11, many of us will find ourselves thinking about it more than on the second/third/fourth anniversaries.
It’s a shame the Alki Statue of Liberty is in the shop, so to speak, right now. As a link of sorts between New York and the area once known as “New York Alki,” it drew mourners on 9/11/01 and long afterward. (The Log House Museum set up a special exhibit about them a year later.) Formal ceremonies even were staged on past anniversaries. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people leave remembrances there today, even with nothing there but the base and a sign about the renovation work.
I remember driving by one evening a night or two after 9/11/01, and seeing the heartbreaking glow of a line of luminarias stretching far past the statue. We went in daylight as well to pay our respects; I remember how quiet and somber the scene was, so unlike what you might find at Alki on any fall day now.
But my most vivid West Seattle memory from that time was here on the south side, walking to Morgan Junction with a family member early one evening when we finally felt safe enough to go outside for something more than essential activities. When you’re walking, you notice the fine details of people’s lives far more than when you are speeding through neighborhoods. On that evening, clear and sunny like 9/11 had been both here in Seattle and in NY, we noticed the flags — on almost every house — silent, yet loud in their own way, flying in grief, in pride, in solidarity. I will never forget the flags.