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City of Dust by Anthony DePalma

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11. Beyond doubt

It would have taken a heart of steel to not be moved by the story of Ceasar Borja’s valiant but ultimately fruitless quest to find help for his father. That tragic tale, and the heart-breaking coincidence of his big appearance in Washington on the very day his father died, drew national sympathy, one of the few times outside the anniversaries of the September 11 attacks that media from all over the country paid attention to the continuing saga in New York.

A week after he returned from D.C., Borja, along with his mother and his younger brother and sister, had a chance to speak directly with President Bush. Bush came to New York to give a major economic speech at historic Federal Hall, not far from ground zero, and made time ...

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