It was a cold December morning when we visited the 9/11 memorial. We were in New York City for a day and a half and we were visiting because it was the one place on my must visit list for the short time we were in town. I had been a college senior going to school just outside the city in a town on the Hudson River when Twin Towers fell, the planes crashed into the Pentagon and the plane crashed in PA. After that day I was never same and I know as a nation we were never the same. Since we now live on the west coast, I wasn’t sure when I would get the chance to visit the memorial again. I’ve been wanting to visit so I jumped at the chance, even though the memorial is not complete.
We got there early before it opened. We didn’t get tickets before hand like the suggest but since we were so early we were still able to get in. We had to wait in line and it was really cold but it was worth it. It was quiet, which surprised me since we were in the city and there was still work going on around us. Maybe I just blocked it out because I was acutely aware of what had happened here. This piece of land had once been very noisy. I don’t remember if I could hear the water falling from the memorial but the water is memorizing. You can’t help but reach a hand out to touch the names that are on the metal surrounding the fountain. There are so many names. So many people dead, so many people who are missed by families and friends. So many people missing due to such senseless violence.
We didn’t spend a long time by the fountains. We were both moved by them and sobered by the experience. I felt some guilty that in a few hours we’d be getting on cruise ship and having a great time. We stopped in the little shop nearby. There were souvenirs that you could buy but my memories are enough for me. All around the top of the shop is a timeline of the events of the day. I started reading the timeline and as I did it was hard to keep the tears at bay. I wasn’t the only one as there were several people trying to wipe away tears without being obvious about what they were doing. I was moved by the visit and find it hard to put into words, even 9 months later. I think it’s one of those experiences that affect us all differently but the same all at the same time.
So many of us did not lose someone that day but even so we were all touched. It’s affected us even if we didn’t want it to. I’m so glad we took the time to visit. Someday when our kids our older, we’ll take them to visit. We’ll explain what happened and share what we each were doing when it happened. We’ll explain how the world changed that day and hope they understand.