The fires are long extinguished, the debris has been cleared from the streets, the rebuilding is well underway at Ground Zero, but the wounds are very much still open.
9/11 is a day that is still very heavy on the hearts of every New Yorker, and every American. One is hard pressed to find anyone in the Tri-State area that didn’t know someone, or knew someone that knew someone, who was in Lower Manhattan on the day the towers fell. The shock has not yet faded, videos and photos of the attack, the pain on the faces throughout the world still sends shivers down our spines. Yet here we are, 11 years later, emerging from the ashes as a stronger nation. We are damaged, we are wounded, but we have emerged bolder, wiser and proud to call ourselves citizens of the United States.
Ground Zero has been transcended from a smoldering pile of death and anguish, into a place of healing. It is a location for families –like those pictured above– who never received anything from their fallen loved ones to go for a sense of closure. The reflecting pools list the names of all 2,996 Americans who went to work, boarded a plane, or put on an oxygen mask on that day and did not return as well as the half of a dozen who perished in the bombing in 1993. As someone who has seen the memorial first hand, I can say from a first hand experience, that it brings unwelcome memories to the forefront of your mind and makes everything seem much more real, however at the same time has an eerie, calming silence.
It is a place of serenity, a place of peace, a place for mourning, but a symbol as well. It shows us that we are rebuilding, the new World Trade Centers are nearing completion, life will once again be revived into zip code 10048, but we will always remember. That horrific day is etched in the minds of all of us, whether we want it to or not.
That day is now twelve years old, but it feels like just yesterday. Today is a day for mourning, for remembrance, but also a day to show that we may be damaged, we may be wounded, but America will never falter and we will ultimately emerge stronger and stronger than ever before.
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”
– President George W. Bush, Nov. 11, 2001