I spend a lot of time wondering and marveling about the vast amount of new building construction in Frankfurt and in Berlin and the constant references to the bombing during the Second World War and to their continued need to rebuild. I see how proud Frankfurt is of their skyscrapers which they call "cloud watchers" they even had a weekend festival dedicated to them the Saturday I walked to the train station beginning my journey remembering the deportation of Polish Jews.
I feel that the war is so much closer to the Europeans than it is to those of us comfortably safe in the United States
And then today, I travel to see the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage -A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, exiting the subway at Rector Street walking down Greenwich Street to Battery Park Place and to the museum, passing of course the World Trade Center site and connecting the dots.
No matter that the Germans were the losers in the Second World War and that the Allies bombed their cities in order to win the war, their turf was destroyed and they must make it right, physically, politically and psychologically. They must keep the war uppermost in their minds to accomplish the goals of reparation for their people-- and for the rest of the world to trust that they are rehabilitated, heart, mind, soul-- concrete and glass.
We as a country were mortally injured by the airplane attacks on 9/11/2001; we are still rebuilding, not only the site itself with its m useums, shops, office towers and skyscraper building, but psychologically, expanding our security networks, feeling at the same time more vulnerable as a people than we have ever felt before--except perhaps during the civil war which is remembered so much more closely in the South than in the North because so much more physical destruction occurred there.
We lick our wounds, we rebuild, we burden our children with the feelings that started the old conflagrations which unfortunately has the effect of maintaining old political, ethnic, class, race and cultural clashes and then we try to learn from those experiences, how to protect ourselves if the world goes crazy again and hopefully how to build bridges to discuss the differences and inequalities we observe in order to build better lives for us all.