Thursday, May 30, 2013

NYC Day 2 - 9/11 Memorial

I made this while waiting in line for the memorial to open.

Early Friday morning, the first thing I wanted to do was pay my respects at the 9/11 memorial. Last time I was in New York in 2006, all the rubble had been cleared away but there were still two giant pits where the towers once stood. After watching the 10 year anniversary on TV, I felt the need to be there, be silent, and pray.

Looking up at the new 1 World Tower being built, it's hard to imagine how a building like that could come crashing down. It seems so impenetrable, sure and eternal. In a way, I'm glad I was able to see Ground Zero before it became a memorial park. It somewhat helps me to understand that this really happened, because it's all just so hard to take in.

The brochure says that the twin towers were over 1,360 feet tall, had 110 floors providing nearly 10 million square feet of office space for approximately 35,000 people and 430 companies. The entire WTC complex, a total of 16 acres, had its own zip code: 10048. 

The new 1 World Trade Tower (formerly called the Freedom Tower) is 1,776 feet tall. It is beautiful. 

One remarkable story that I hadn't heard about was the Survivor Tree. I asked one of the volunteers for info and he told me it's the only thing that survived the wreckage. The tree was originally planted in the 70's when the WTC plaza was built, and after 9/11 it was nursed back to health but was uprooted by a big storm in 2010. Yet it survived again! And now it is planted by the south reflection pool as a symbol of resilience. People were taking their picture with the tree. 

Afterward, I made my way over to Trinity Church, which served as hospital for victims during the crisis.

I wandered through the cemetery for an hour, full of thoughts and emotions. I couldn't help connect the bronze engraved names around the 9/11 pools to the weather-worn graves of those who died in the 1700's. The mystery of life and death was the unavoidable theme of the day.

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