There is no easy way to talk about the September 11 National Memorial and not have it bring up memories of the fateful day no matter where you lived in the U.S. While visiting New Jersey and New York, we spoke with many people about where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news about the attacks. It’s still hard to comprehend the magnitude of what happened that day, especially for those who lost loved ones.
This remarkable memorial is on the site where the former Twin Towers were before the brutal attacks on September 11, 2001 which killed 2,507 civilians, 72 law enforcement officers, 343 firefighters, and 55 military personnel.
Two 1-acre pools with the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. The waterfalls are intended to mute the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary. Almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the Memorial Plaza, enhancing the site's reflective nature.
Today the names of every person who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 are inscribed in bronze around the twin memorial pools. The names are arranged according to an algorithm, creating "meaningful adjacencies" based on relationships—proximity at the time of the attacks, company or organization affiliations (for those working at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon) and in response to about 1,200 requests from family members.
With that said, I would like to share a little about our visit to this emotional memorial. We were in New Jersey the night before and took the Path into New York which let us off right at the World Trade Center stop. We came up the stairs and there were signs and directions to get the memorial which was a very short distance from the Path stop. As we made our way around the corner, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the size of the memorial
I had no idea how large the memorials were. I mean, I had seen pictures, but they don’t really give you a feel of how large they really were. It was really touching and emotional to think of all the people that had worked day in and day out in that vast area that are no longer with us today. It was quite an eye opening experience.
I was living in California during the attacks and did not know anyone personally that lost their lives that day, but I still wanted to go and pay my respects and say a prayer for the victims and their families. I do however have a co-worker who lost a cousin so I was able to say a prayer for him and his family as well as place a flower on his name. It really made it even more real (not that it wasn't already). It was an emotional way to start our trip in New York, but also very meaningful. It is something I didn’t want to have to see, but couldn’t not go to see it while we were in New York. RIP all those lost that horrific day.