Last September 11th, I blogged (here) about my memories, and feelings of the events of that terrible day. This year I’ve been more reflective on the individuals who died, in part, I believe, because of our recent trip to New York City and to the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center.
Our hotel was near the Stock Exchange, so early Saturday morning we made our way through the streets to the Memorial in a gentle rain, and I recalled the photos of the those very streets being covered with ash as people fled. The tears began to flow long before we made it through the long security lines to enter. I was overwhelmed by the very palpable feeling of profound loss, sacrifice, and selflessness that took place where we stood. It was an incredibly somber and moving experience, one that I’m not adept at putting into words.
The two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools that have been constructed at the site of the two towers that fell are are perfect memorials. Walking the perimeter and reading each of the names (so many names!) of those lost was powerful, as was watching the water fall down and disappear into the ground where so many lives were ended prematurely. It was a lot to take in, but I was so glad that Bryce and I got to have that very raw experience together. Bryce was in the MTC when 9/11 happened, and for reasons that I do not comprehend, there was effectively an information ban. As such, they would only get snippets of information from distraught teachers, letters from home, the occasional newspaper clipping, etc. Because of this, Bryce was effectively prevented from experiencing this collective defining moment. I think our experience at the memorial helped him feel a part of what the rest of us felt that day, and for that I am grateful.
I hope that as individuals and as a nation we can recall that in the face of hatred and evil, we came together and defiantly asserted that United We Stand. We looked for the good in one another, found common ground and common purpose. It was a beautiful, if brief, moment in our country’s history, and one that gives me hope that we can in fact move forward to a future of love, compassion, and understanding, and away from our divisive, raging, rhetoric-fueled present.