9/11 Memorial: Beautiful and forever sad

This week I am in New York City for Blogfest 2012 with designers, photographers and writers from around the country for a whirlwind three-day design event.

But when I arrived yesterday, my first stop was Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial. It was almost full circle for me. 

On September 11, 2001, I stepped out of a cab at the Newark airport on the most beautiful of New York mornings. The two towers sparkled across the river.  In two hours they would both be gone.

Since that day, I have been back to New York many times. A month after 9/11 when the city was so sad and bagpipes played for funeral processions and the smell of smoke was still heavy in the air. Photos of loved ones still hung in front of St. Paul’s Chapel at Trinity Church and held out hope for a miracle that never came.

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But today, there is a peaceful and comforting memorial to the 2,983 men, women and children who perished in the terrorist attacks that changed life in America forever. And the construction of the 1,776-foot 1 World Trade Center has filled in the landscape. Visitors can see the spiral of new towers going up around the eight-acre memorial.

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It is a beautiful, soothing site in the middle of the construction. Two pools make up the memorial and they are set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. Thirty-foot waterfalls cascade into the pools and descend into a center void. The names of each of the victims are inscribed in bronze and are placed according to where they were that day.

Swamp white oaks line the walkways. A damaged Callery pear tree that was planted at the site in the 1970’s was nursed back to health and has been replanted at the site and is now known as the survivor tree.”  

It is a touching tribute to lives lost and to a day that changed us forever.

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