Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ground Zero

Do you remember where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001? I'll bet you do. I remember that I was in our RV in Staunton, VA. I was talking on the phone to our son Eric when he said, "Oh my God, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center." I fumbled with the remotes until I got our TV turned on to watch for myself. A day later we cut short our travels and drove West to Colorado. It just didn't feel right to be traveling

During our time in New York City we revisited many of those images when we visited the Tribute WTC gallery and took a tour around the perimeter of the construction site on Ground Zero.

The gallery included a film about the attacks on our country that day, as well as a time line of events and displays of quotation and artifacts from the site, including this NYC Fire Department uniform that was worn by one of the firefighters who died.

this is a melted girder from the World Trade Center.

This is a window from one of the airplanes that hit the buildings.

This image still gives me the shivers.

This piece of metal is two handguns that melted together. They were in the evidence locker in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that was housed in the WTC.

The rescue response was rapid and massive, as this quote shows.

These oragami doves are part of the millions that were sent from all over the world as a token of love and concern.

But the most moving part of the day was the person to person history shared by our tour guide, Ann. Each tour guide was somehow directly affected by the terrorism. Ann's husband was a New York fireman who died in the collapse of one of the towers.

This is a view of the New York skyline as seen from a building that sits between the Trade Center Buildings and the Hudson River. We are looking though a window that was shattered in the explosion and you can see some of the many construction cranes at work.

We learned that construction on the buildings around the memorial site will be shut down for one week in September 2011 for the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The reflection pool memorial will be open to the public that week, then closed because of ongoing construction of the buildings that make it unsafe for visitors.

We were both in tears by the end of our Person to Person History tour. Ann thanked us for coming and for remembering what happened that day. She said she wanted to end on a more upbeat note, telling us there are lots of fun things to do during our visit to NYC. "This isn't one of them," she said. It wasn't fun. But is was very moving. Neither of us will ever forget that day, and we must not. It was a defining moment in our nation's history and shapes our future. It was important to refresh our memories of what happened.

This quartz crystal is part of a memorial to the 11 American Express Travel Center workers killed in the attacks. It is a mineral that is found on all parts of our world and symbolizes the fact that people from all over the world were killed there. You can see the construction site reflected in the pool.

During the long period of rescue and recovery work at Ground Zero, a small Episcopal chapel, St. Paul's, down the street was a haven for rescue workers and family. We visited there after our tour of the construction site. Here are a few scenes from the church. One of the pictures is of a priest celebrating Mass wearing a red chasuble covered with patches from police and fire departments. Those patches were given to the clergy by many of the first responders from all over the country in recognition of their gratitude for the care they received.

In the plaza that was at the center of the World Trade Center complex there was a globe, symbolizing the trade from all over the world that came together there. When that bronze statue was uncovered it was found to be badly damaged. The statue was moved to Battery Park and put on display. It sits on a piece of landfill on the Hudson River created with dirt that had been removed to build the WTC. The statue is still there, with an eternal flame at its side.

1 comment:

  1. We just couldn't bear to see the WTC site. Not because we want to forget it because it will be forever burned in our minds, but because I would have been in tears the whole time. It was hard enough to read your blog, but I'm glad you posted it and I could see what is there.