“Letters from the Ground Zero” is an essay about the tragedy of September 11 in New York City which was unexpected and unbelievable but still happened in broad daylight and caught everyone all over the world unaware and for someone who lived six blocks away from the World Trade Center when the acts of terrorism happened in the American soil like Jonathan Schell, the author of this essay, it is one unforgettable moment in his life to witness such devastation in your country and your countrymen.
Schell narrated and illustrated what he had heartrendingly encountered firsthand that day and according to him, “My specific neighborhood was violated and mutilated. As I write these words, the acrid, dank, rancid stink—it is the smell of death—of the still smoking site is in my nostrils.”
The occurrence of such an attack could have been prevented if every government’s vigilance was increased and complacency was not heightened. It will always be a better option for all countries to be circumspect, to take extra precautions and do what they can to obliterate such demonic creations.
In the time of development of such sophisticated weapons of mass destruction, it is never impossible anymore for a specific part of the globe to become the next ground zero. As Schell told, “We have known this intellectually, but now we know it viscerally, as a nausea in the pit of the stomach that is unlikely to go away.”
The author was able to give a testimonial to the tragedy since he lived near the ground zero and who better to narrate it than someone like him. What the essay tries to impart is for people to see that something has to be done to stop this from happening again to each one’s homeland and protect the countrymen.
The author effectively narrated what can be seen on the television at the same time the streets of New York right after what happened like how people helped each other in any way they can and how so many heroic deeds emerged after such consecutive acts of terror occurred in the United States of America. The author said “the surrounding buildings were smashed but still standing and looked down eyelessly on their pulverized brethren”.
He was also able to witness how heroic men and women tried to slowly and patiently work in finding the people under the numerous piles of rubbles in ground zero which made it very difficult for the rescue operations to get as many people out of the site alive yet their persistence somehow gave him the reassurance.
Despite all these the American people rose above the devastation and destruction even after so many lives of people, employees, firemen, policemen and rescuers were lost. America has truly learned a huge lesson in a most traumatic, appalling and heartrending way.
The essay gives the reader a glimpse of the atmosphere of the perimeter near ground zero, immediately after the World Trade Center was struck. It makes the reader see what it took and how much courage and strength it took for people whose presence was literally there when it happened.
Everyone should try to move and take action on how these attacks can be prevented in the country known to be most powerful in this world.
Schell, Jonathan. “Letters from the Ground Zero.” Connelly, Mark. The Sundance Reader, Fourth Edition. Boston, Massachussetts: Thomas Wadsworth, 2006. 119-120.