I still remember the classroom seat I was sitting in when I heard the news. I listened intently as I heard my teacher gasp, and I watched as her face slowly fell sullen. “A plane just crashed into one of the twin towers,” her voice murmured. We turned on the 1990’s classroom television and all watched in disbelief as a second plane struck the next tower.
I remember the strange feeling I had. It was heavy.
Yet, I was safely tucked inside my classroom walls. Meanwhile, a horrible tragedy was taking place, nearly ten hours away, from where I was sitting. It was a weird, confusing, heavy thing to process as a child, not truly understanding the full impact it would have on America, our means of travel, and the thousands of families losing loved ones at that very moment.
My husband and I were able to travel to New York City, a few years ago, and we visited the 9/11 memorial and museum. I thought about avoiding it altogether, just because I knew it would be heart-wrenching. However, we cast aside those heavy feelings and decided to go.
At the 9/11 memorial, the names of the people who lost their lives, on that horribly tragic day, are listed around the fountain and the way the memorial was designed, left us utterly speechless.
The memorial consists of two massive structures, right where the initial twin towers used to stand. We were completely awestruck by the size of the memorial. In the middle of the structures, water falls into the unknown. When deciding on the design of this memorial, the “Lower Manhattan Development Corporation looked for designs that honored the victims, spoke to the needs of families who had lost loved ones, and provided a space for healing and reflection.” This space is definitely a place of remembrance, even within the bustle of lower Manhattan. Source:www.911memorial.org
We could’ve spent a whole day in the museum, but only had a few hours to spare.
We spent time watching news clips, listening to phone calls of those on the plane who were wishing their loved ones a final goodbye, seeing ash-filled clothing and a child’s teddy bear soaked with debris, and viewing the survivors staircase, to name a few. Afterward, we walked out of the museum with heavy hearts although we felt that the museum showcased everything, in such a beautiful manner.
If you ever get the chance to visit the memorial and the museum, I would highly recommend it. However, today on this day, as we sit and reflect upon the last nineteen years since September 11, 2001, remember the families, remember our first responders, remember the pain, and remember how as a country, it brought us all together.