Yesterday morning, Mom and I took a trip to the newly opened 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero.
We caught the E train headed south and once we showed our tickets and went through multiple checkpoints, we ended up here:
It's the footprint of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, which was the first tower to be hit. The waterfalls symbolize falling tears and viewers cannot see the bottom of the deep pit in the middle. The theme of the memorial is "Reflecting Absence" - not only the absence of these two towers that symbolized such strength but the absence of 2,900 people who cannot be replaced. When the sun hits the water, it sparkles and looks like thousands of tiny camera flashes going off, reminding us of each precious life that was lost. The memorial could not have been more perfectly done.
Around the perimeters of the towers are the names. Thousands of names. Names of victims, heroes, and stories we will never know on this side of heaven. The most poignant moment for me is when I saw a woman find her loved one's name, slowly run her hands over it, and start to cry.
This name on the bottom stopped me in my tracks. There were lots like it: "... and her unborn child." It said so much to me that America would acknowledge that unborn child as a life that was lost.
Surrounding the memorial is construction. Those towers are being rebuilt, sending a message that though the terrorist got us in this battle, it's not over. Many of the construction workers rebuilding these towers are veterans which just brings tears to my eyes.
Standing at the site of these two towers and running my hands across dozens and dozens of names, I've never felt more patriotic. It felt like sacred, holy ground - and it's not something I can even put into words without taking you there and letting you experience it yourself.
So if you're in New York anytime soon, I can't recommend the experience enough.
I'm so proud to be an American.