While spending some time in New York there were some key places we wanted to see. One of them was the World Trade Center where the 9-11 Memorial is along with the 9-11 Museum and the new One World Trade Center. We arrived in Manhattan on a Friday afternoon near Wall Street and of course had to go and see the Raging Bull while in the area. After a quick bite to eat we headed towards Battery Park to see Lady Liberty for the first time. With some time left before dark it was decided to visit the 9-11 Memorial. Of course the new One World Trade Center had been in our sites since arriving in New York.
Nearing the 9-11 Memorial site things suddenly became more familiar. This area which was broadcast endlessly on TV on September 11th, 2001 and for days after. We could now see these buildings and how they all relate to one another with our own eyes. Some of those memories, thoughts, and feelings returned as we began to re-live the attacks as we could imagine the twin towers standing tall where there are now reflecting pools. As discussions progressed about 9-11 it struck me that my children view this as a piece of history instead of being able to re-call living through this event. I realized that to them this is like the attacks at Pearl Harbor are for me.
While exploring this memorial site we generally took it in silently as it is an emotional place. To think of those family members and the memories they must have of the days and years that followed September 11th and what it must be like for them to visit this place now is difficult. I can’t begin to imagine. Seeing all of the names of those that died here over a decade ago and roses placed on those names who would have celebrated a birthday that day was disheartening. The pools symbolizing both towers are a beautiful place to reflect on the recent past and hope for the future as new buildings are being constructed.
After leaving the memorial plaza we began to explain to our children the events of that day forever engrained in our minds and hearts. Our oldest was too young to remember any of the attacks and our youngest was not yet born. It was almost an epiphany to realize their view on 9-11 as an item in their history books. I was a little frustrated with their lack of emotion at such a major violent event in the history of the United States at first as I tried to convey these horrific happenings in the exact places they were standing. After taking a few moments to come to terms with their different view I began to be thankful that this is just an event in history for them and not the beginning of an age of terrorism making them afraid of what may happen on any given day.
That was a far change from the fears I had after these attacks occurred. I remember wondering what kind of place my children would grow up in and feeling sorrow for their possible world. Continuing across the street from the memorial we walked by the firehouse so many became familiar with as the first firefighters to enter the World Trade Center after the first airplane smashed through the North Tower. Now we gained more perspective on the events of that day and could understand more clearly how and why people were doing the things they did and how unimaginable it had to be.
Much of those horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 are just memories now and a lot of healing has taken place as that location is being transformed, anchored by a new World Trade Tower. Currently the tallest building in the Americas, it is a beacon of hope and perseverance of a willingness to continue and recover.