witnessing a brief truce during a heated and historic campaign

My office is just a block from the WTC site, and we have several windows that have a good view of about half of the pit. My colleagues and I spent some time yesterday at the windows, looking at the crowds, the congested traffic, the police securing the entire area. We could see the flags lining the access ramp into the pit, where families of the victims were allowed to go yesterday (and every anniversary of the attacks) to publicly remember their loved ones and place flowers into a reflecting pool at the bottom of the ramp.

Although crowds were heavy all day in the area, the most activity occured in the morning, during the ceremony where the names of all victims were read, moments of silence were held at the times the planes hit each building and at the times each building fell, and most families visited the site.

I had heard that Obama and McCain would be visiting the site sometime in the afternoon, but we assumed we wouldn't be able to spot them. In the late afternoon, glancing out the window, we could see two men on top of the next building, immediately across from our windows. They were dressed in black with bullet-proof vests and had large binoculars and sniper rifles with them. Glancing around, others like them dotted the tops of several buildings around us.

Assuming this meant the two presidential candidates were either already there or on their way, we kept watch. I could see the entire access ramp into the site, but my line of sight was cut off right at the bottom of the ramp. The access ramp emptied of people. Around 4pm, a long line of cops walked down the ramp, single file, about 15-20 feet apart (I'm guessing - they were pretty small from our vantage point). Right after that, a small cluster of about 4 people walked down the ramp together, and right after them, another line of cops.

We waited, and about a half hour later, more cops, followed by the small cluster of people, followed by more cops. We turned on a live news feed on abc.com and saw that it was, indeed, Obama, McCain, Mayor Bloomberg and Cindy McCain coming up the ramp. We watched them shaking hands with the crowd at the top of the ramp, comparing what we could see to the live news feed to make sure we could tell exactly where they were. A few moments later, they got in their separate cars and left.


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