Recently I visited New York City with a friend. We went to Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center attacks which has been turned into a park setting with twin reflecting ponds where the buildings once stood. We then went through the Museum. It is the most tastefully done tribute I have ever experienced. Many times I was brought to tears at this museum.
There were singed notes dropped from upper floors that somehow made it to the ground in pieces - half a sheet here or there that floated down through smoke, flames, and water hosees. Framed. "Expolosion somewhere below - if I don't make it out, tell the kids i love them - thank you for being my wife." Another note, "if it is possible, I will always be with you, Remember how much i love you all. Tell Mom and Dad i love them, too." Heart-renting attempts to let someone know their last thoughts.
A firetruck damaged completely from the fire whose ladders were simply curved downward from the heat was exhibited as well as a stairway that enabled many people to escape. There were approximately 40,000 workers in the buildings at the time of the attacks as well as others who were there on business or other appointments.
The attacks killed 2,977 people, not counting the 19 hijackers, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least 10 billion dollars in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people have died of 9/11 related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks. It is truly amazing that there were not more deaths at the time of the attacks.
The cross made from the building beams is displayed as well as the I-beams from the location where the plane entered the building which is bent into the shape of the nose of the plane.
There are other I-beams which are bent completely double from the intensity of heat from the fire.
There are notes written and tossed out of windows telling people they may not get out and that they loved them so very much. The framed notes fire tinged or half gone but somehow making it to the ground with the message of love.
On a bare concrete wall that separates visitors from a repository holding the unidentified remains of victims of the September 11 attacks is a quote of Virgil’s: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” From end to end, the sentence stretches 60 feet. Each of the 15-inch tall letters is made of steel appropriated from the wreckage. Read against the backdrop of the cool, gray, towering concrete wall, the sentiment is one of solemnity, remembrance; Virgil’s words seem a fitting commemorative for the lives lost that day.
Artist Spencer Finch was commissioned to create the artwork for this wall entitled “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” and was inspired by the memorably clear, intensely blue sky that fateful day. Though it may appear from a distance to be a stone mosaic, the piece comprises individual sheets of Fabriano Italian paper that the artist hand-painted in different shades of blue with water colors, hung like the missing person notices that filled the city’s streets in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Each of the 2,983 squares represents one of the victims for the 2011 attack and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Workers in the repository behind the wall are still working daily with DNA to continue identifying the remains of those persons.
Another concrete wall three feet thick held back the Hudson River and kept it from flooding the already impaired area. It is now displayed as it was on that morning but with three feet of reinforced concrete from behind as a safety feature.
Last year I visited Dachau in Germany, a concentration camp during the Holocaust. The feeling there was heavy, as if the earth was saturated with and still in mourning for those atrocities. The sensation I experienced was of the horror and pain.
In stark contrast the feeling at the World Trade Center Museum, though solemn, patriotic and most respectful was a vibration of a coming together, of hope, of continuity and the sensation of Holy, Hallowed Ground. The World Trade Center Museum is both humbling and uplifting. The spirits of those who were killed that day is naturally still present.
I am proud to be an American, proud to live in a country that not only allows and tolerates freedom of religion but one that is BASED on that right and privilege. Because of that tolerance, which many nations do not allow, we are able to practice our religion freely, in the Spirit of love.
May you recognize and embrace this wonderful country that is ours. The Great Spirit is with you always. Be appreciative.