On this adventure Rooster and pay a visit to Ground Zero and the Memorial. The experience moved and inspired us. #ground zero #twin towers #World Trade Center. #New York City
A Visit to Ground Zero and the Memorial
Sunday afternoon after church, Asa gave us a lift to Ground Zero. The last time we were in New York City we didn’t visit the site where the Twin Towers fell. The construction of the memorial was so recent we heard you had to make an appointment to see it. We decided we couldn’t go back home to Indiana this time without visiting the memorial.
My Memories of when the towers fell
There is not a single American who was living on the morning of September 11th when the first plane hit the towers who doesn’t remember what they were doing at the exact moment they heard about what was unfolding. I’d just got the kids off to school. I poured myself a cup of coffee, switch on the television, and relaxed while Al Roker gave the weather report.
Images started popping up on my TV screen as the tragedy unfolded. Katie Couric and Matt Lauer reported a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. It seemed like a tragic accident until the second plane struck the second tower. I remember a sense of disbelief washed over me as I watched people running in the streets and smoke pouring from the building.
Panic about what would happen next
I called my husband and asked if I should go to school and get the kids. There was a feeling of panic because there was no telling what would happen next. My fears were realized when a third plane flew into the Pentagon, and another crashed in a Pennsylvania cornfield. I remember wondering in a fog of terror for several days expected another attack in a different form.
What if a terrorist set off a dirty bomb in Chicago? What if a semi-truck was driven into the gas pumps at the filling station on the corner.? The events of 911 changed all of us. But I can’t imagine the horror of being a resident of New York City the day the planes fell from the sky.
Experiencing Ground Zero and Memorial Plaza
The first impression I received when I entered Memorial Plaza was a reverent silence. In a city where horns honked, people rushed from place to place, and traffic noises invaded your eardrums, the plaza was quiet. We had strolled past colorful murals painted on the walls around the Westfield World Trade Center on our way to the site.
At first, I thought all the color and artistry was out of place with the somber location, but it dawned on me as we meandered along it was a powerful statement of survival. It was a step beyond the tragedy into a celebration of life. The city I was standing in is a great melting pot of cultures and nationalities.
As you walk around the giant hole in the ground where the tower once stood, at least a dozen different languages float to your ears. It’s the same on the subway, the Staten Island Ferry, and as you walk down the street. Ellis Island still stands in the harbor although it no longer processes the weary immigrant. That task is now done at one of the international airports. If the people of this city can coexist after the 911 tragedy, our nation can come together to solve the severe problems we face.
What to expect at the Memorial
The memorial itself is a large square hole in the ground with a constant stream of water flowing down its sides. The names of the people killed in the 911 attack are engraved on the edges surrounding the memorial in raised lettering. The people who died in the February 26, 1993 bombing are also included with the names of the people who were killed the day the planes flew into the tower. Six people lost their lives in the first attack. At least a thousand more were injured.
There is a darker whole within the giant square where the flowing water flows disappearing into the void as if there is a mystery buried underneath the soil. The flowing water speaks to me of the constant renewal of the human spirit. The One World Trade Center erected next to the memorial is a testimony there was no victory won by the terrorist the day the towers fell. The spirit of a nation to overcome disaster lives on despite the tragedy.
Westfield World Trade Center
We didn’t visit the museum. The memorial was all the reminder we needed. We did go to the Westfield World Trade Center. This is a large mall located across the street from ground zero. There is a massive community space in the center of the shopping plaza spanned by white arches, giving the visitor the sensation of being in a giant igloo. It was an uplifting experience to watch people going about their daily lives without fear or animosity toward their fellow man.
Workers were setting up a holiday display on the ground floor of the mall. Children laughed and played around snowmen and other holiday trappings. America is built on dreams of financial independence. It didn’t seem out of place for this marketplace lined with shops where vendors sold everything from cell phones to World Trade Center trinkets to reside next door to the memorial.
We rambled around the shopping center for a while before we decided to walk the streets of Lower Manhatten. Thus, our visit to Ground Zero and the Memorial concluded.
Why visit City Hall Park
It was mid-afternoon before we came to City Hall Park with its marvelous display of kitchen trees. Multi-colored colanders provided the trunk of these handmade trees. Suspended stainless-steel frying and saucepans, soup ladles, and spatulas made up the leaves. Wire cables were the branches. It was a colorful and exciting find.
The artwork surrounded an old fountain with candelabra on each end. It was a whimsical reminder not to take life too seriously. My heart needed this touch of whimsy after our visit to the World Trade Center site. It was a reminder that life must go on. Therefore, City Hall Park became a positive reminder life must go on after our somber visit to Ground Zero and the Memorial.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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