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Unease weighs on NY as violent cycle continues

THE sky over Manhattan yesterday was the same bright blue as the one from which two planes emerged 10 years ago, changing the world for ever. But one thing, mercifully, was different.

"I was so glad to see clouds this morning," said Jane McCloskey, a 62-year-old legal executive. "When there's blue skies and no clouds, that's 9/11. And it scares us still."

After lunch, thousands of New Yorkers lined the square where 2,752 people perished, straining to catch a glimpse of the president who had the man who caused their anguish killed.

They watched as Barack Obama and a city police officer in white gloves bowed their heads and laid a wreath of red and blue roses, before standing silent for three minutes.

"I'm so proud of him," said Ellen Rothstein, a 65-year-old computer programmer. "He said he was going to do it, and he did it. The weight on his shoulders must have been extraordinary."

It was unnaturally silent at Ground Zero but there was a sense of unity locals said they had not seen since the days following the terrorist attacks.

"It is a day of no politics," said Captain Thomas Venditto, a New York fireman. "We are united in being happy that we got justice."

Yet after a few days' reflection, there was a sense of unease that such jubilation had been caused by yet another violent death, however bad the victim.

"There's a mix between people who are just relieved, and people who are overdoing it, acting with vengeance," said Ray Zuckerberg (53) a business analyst. "I find that distasteful."

"It's closure for those the victims left behind," said Brad Birnbaum (42) whose best friend Alexander Steinman (32) never made it out of the towers.

"But there's no joy. It would have been better if this had never happened".

Uptown, a couple of hours earlier, Mr Obama visited Engine 54, Ladder 4, the fire station which suffered the most losses. After lunch the firemen said he had confided in them about the most intense moment of his presidency.


"I think on Sunday night, the president knew how we felt," said Chief Jack Joyce.

"For those 30 minutes he said he was just so anxious, because he couldn't control what was going on in Pakistan.

"He understood how you can feel the frustration of not getting the job done, or the elation of getting it done and coming home safe."

Captain Thomas Venditto added: "It got somewhat emotional".

The emotions were still raw, too, back at Ground Zero. "It could have been five years ago, one year ago, yesterday," said Mrs Rothstein. "The wound is so deep." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent