Not-So-Wordless Wednesday - A Visit to the 9/11 Memorial

As we remember the events from 12 years ago, I wanted to share some photos with you from our recent trip to New York City. We had the chance to visit the 9/11 Memorial with the kids. And while they are too young to understand what happened that day, they did understand that we were visiting a very solemn place.

Before we entered the memorial site, we took the kids to the gift shop. They had scenes from that day playing on the wall, with stories from survivors. I was showing the girls a book about 9/11 so that they would maybe have an understanding about what happened - and as I came to a photo of one of the planes hitting the towers, I couldn't speak. The words stuck in my throat and tears rolled down my face. I managed to say "it was a sad day and a lot of people died because of a lot of bad men." Simplistic, yes. But the kids understood.

We gathered outside the memorial at our designated time and I marveled at the hustle and bustle around the area. When Kevin and I first visited "Ground Zero" in 2003 there was only a huge hole in the Earth and a chain link fence surrounding the area.

Standing at that fence 10 years ago I was unable to form any positive thought - it was as if every happy thought was sucked out of my body, replaced with a sense of grief and doom.

But today, in 2013, the area was full of life. There were tourists everywhere and people enjoying a beautiful summer day. And you could feel the sense of promise and change in the air.

Getting into the Memorial itself was a lot like going through security at the airport,which is sad considering the site. My niece had a good point - at all of the place in the world, wouldn't you think people would just KNOW better at this location? I suppose it's just the way of the world now.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we walked into the Memorial itself, maybe a quiet hush or a sense of solemnity.

What I found was a lot of people - talking, walking, laughing, taking photos - but many wore a look of uncertainty, as if to say "Is it REALLY OK to take a photo of my family here???"

I found myself mesmerized by the sheer size of the fountains - they are after all built in the footprints of the towers. To see the size and expanse of these pools of water and know that buildings once stood there - it was breathtaking and incredibly sad all at once. I touched the panels with the names, not knowing any of these people but still feeling a responsibility and a NEED to pay my respects.

And there, rising above the Memorial is the Freedom Tower, all 1,776 feet of it. As soon as we stepped off the subway and I looked skyward I saw this gleaming glass tower and it took my breath away. It is a marvel of architecture and a beautiful reminder of the resilience of man.

The next time you find yourself in New York City, make it a point to travel to the 9/11 site and visit the memorial.

Touch the names, listen to the fountains, take some pictures, and just take it all in. You might not be able to explain it, but you'll leave the memorial feeling hopeful. 

The 9/11 Memorial is a peaceful place and a true testament to the American spirit.
They may have taken the towers down 12 years ago, but we came back.

And we're better and stronger as a country.

We will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. Just came across your blog, and read this post. I used to work in lower Manhattan and now work in Jersey City. I commute through the World Trade Center PATH station, and I've seen how much the area has changed and grown. It's amazing, isn't it?