September 11, 2001 – I remember that day as if it were yesterday. How I was sitting in my office preparing paperwork for the day and someone stepped in and said come watch the TV in the Captain’s office! For much of the remainder of the day that is where I sat, dumbfounded! I still have newspapers from Local and National Press’s. I have photos and memories of my ERT brothers and I spreading a huge American Flag on our roof that could be seen for quite a distance. I rallied our officers to make donations and sent what we raised to help, help in any way that it could.
Fast forward 16 years – Never have I forgotten! Maybe memories have dulled a bit and day to day passes as usually, but come September 11 of each year the emotions return with sweat sorrow. This past spring I visited the 9/11 site and memorials. Very poignant and thought provoking. So many stories to be told and heard.
Such as this TREE the “Survivor Tree”. In the picture the man is holding you can see a branch of a tree. This is the only living thing that was found after the few survivors were rescued. This tree was taken and cared for by the New York City Parks and Recreation. They tenderly cared for this tree and kept it alive. The large tree in the picture is the Callery Pear Tree that is now known as the Survivor Tree. There is a seedling program where each year, the 9/11 Memorial gives seedlings from the Survivor Tree to three communities that have endured tragedy in recent years. I was floored to learn of this, how from tragedy, the Survivor Tree embodies our nation’s spirit of hope and healing, strength and resilience in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. One small act shows so much compassion.
Then there was the CHURCH, St. Paul’s Chapel more commonly known as the Little Church that Stood. The resilient chapel withstood the fall of the Twin Towers in 2001 and has had worshippers “ranging from George Washington to those who searched for victims following the Sept. 11 attacks.” The church doors never closed and became a rest haven for the searchers and rescuers. They served meals and provided pillows for the weary to sleep on the pews. The stories that were told about this little church were never heard all across the US but thankfully the tours and museum are keeping them alive.
I was astonished in no matter where we went or what tour we were on how the stories of 9/11 were told. From a ferry crossing to see the Statue of Liberty we were shown a plaque on the wall of the ferry. A Plaque awarded to the Captain and Crew of the Ferry who responded to the SOS call to transport the thousands of people stuck on the island of Manhattan after the attack.
And then there was the actual museum, these are actual pieces of the original Twin Towers, and in the center is part of one of the planes that took them down.
The size and magnitude of the iron and steel was incredible and so powerful and it played twisted and crumbled around the museum. Story after story was retold in pictures and objects that were found. Some being a woman’s pump, a man’s nice gold watch, a stuffed teddy bear. Each were identified and donated by family members as a remembrance of their loved ones.
The 9/11 Memorial is located at the site of the former World Trade Center complex and occupies approximately half of the 16-acre site. The Memorial features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers. The Memorial Plaza is one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed. More than 400 trees surround the reflecting pools. Its design conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.
Each name is set in a particular order, each person is connected in some sort of way to the person next to them. This was to show how everyone, everywhere are connected somehow, someway to each other. They may have worked together, rode the subway or bus together everyday, maybe they went to school or church together, but each were connected.
The single white rose is placed on each name on the day that was that person’s birthday. This is done everyday…regardless.
I am going to let these photos speak instead of me. They say a thousand words!
One World Trade Center or Freedom Tower is a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history. The Tower’s final component, the spire was installed, making the building, including its spire, reach a total height of 1,776 feet (541 m). Its height in feet is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The tower’s observation deck was specifically constructed with the memory of the Twin Towers in mind. The deck itself begins at 1,362 feet, and a glass parapet extends to 1,368 feet—the exact height of the South and North Towers. The building has a cubic base and its edges form eight isosceles triangles. Near its middle, the tower forms a perfect octagon. When standing at the base and looking upwards it appears that the side is disappearing into space. Its overall effect is that of a crystalline form that captures an ever-evolving display of refracted light. As the sun moves through the sky or pedestrians move around the tower, the surfaces appear like a kaleidoscope, and change throughout the day as light and weather conditions change.
If ever you have the opportunity to visit NYC, you must see these sights and not forget September 11, 2001.