Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” (Nehemiah 2:17 ESV)
Jerusalem had been destroyed and lying in ruins for over 125 years. The people Nehemiah was talking to here had been living in the rubble heap that was Jerusalem for ten years or more.
Why then, was it necessary for him to tell them to look at the “ruins” and start building the wall? It was because the Israelites that were living there had become callous to their surroundings.
Day after day they became numb to walking over rubble and not having gates to protect them. Eventually, this literally broken city became comfortable and home to them.