"I live in New York." When I travel, that sentence always brings a reaction from out-of-towners—often positive, sometimes less so. Now, I suspect, I will get a different kind of reaction. To live and work in New York City certainly means something different now to me and my colleagues than it did before September 11. It's more than the temporary loss of phone service or having to find a new way to get to work. Our city has been hurt. Our brash pride has given way to a sense of vulnerability.
I am grateful to the many people who e-mailed us at PLASTICS TECHNOLOGY from all over the world to express their horror and dismay and to ask if we were all right. Wonderfully, none of our staff experienced any danger or close personal loss. But everyone knows someone with a story. One of our computer consultants is a former N.Y.C. emergency medical technician. He jumped in his car on that awful Tuesday morning to come help out. In the midst of all the chaos, he found a woman lying in the street about to give birth. He helped get her to a hospital in a prison bus commandeered from the nearby courthouse. The husband of Senior Editor Lilli Sherman is a firefighter in her home town in Connecticut. His crew came to the city to help relieve the exhausted rescuers. He himself helped save a firefighter who fell into a cavity in the ruins.
On that day, a lot of things changed abruptly for this city and this country. But not everything. We learned something from the huge outpouring of courage and generosity that the devastation brought forth. The most important things we wanted to believe about ourselves turned out to be true.