Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the day "our nation saw evil" and almost 3,000 innocent lives were extinguished. Last October, on a beautiful fall morning with weather not unlike that fateful September day, we had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. The site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once proudly stood is now a shrine and in the national psyche stands alongside Gettysburg and Pearl Harbor. The 9/11 Memorial is tremendous in its simplicity and leaves a profound sense of sadness but also resolve
The exact footprint of each tower has been transformed into two below ground pools with water cascading over each of the four sides. In the center of the pool the water disappears into a square hole, symbolizing the disappeared and the lost. The pools each measure about one acre and the surrounding walls are capped with bronze plates with the victims names. The lost are grouped together: firefighters, those on the two doomed flights, the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald (658 of their 960 employees perished) and so on...even some pregnant mothers and their unborn children.
The two pools are set in a park which spans about eight acres and has hundreds of newly planted white oaks. There is also the "Survivor Tree" which was originally planted near the WTC site in the 1970s and somehow, like NYC, survived the attacks.
Visitors maintain reverential silence and speak in hushed tones. Mostly you just heard the cascading water and blink back tears as you watch families make etchings of the names of their loved ones. The lingering effect is one of overwhelming sorrow but also determination to not let our guard down again.