You Won’t Believe Your Ears
I was looking through my Facebook pictures the other day with a native New Yorker and came across my 9/11 Memorial pictures. To my amazement she said she hadn’t had the chance to visit the site yet. I was slightly shocked and a little taken aback when she said this because the site, even with parts still under construction, was glorious! Visitors lined up for three city blocks winding through numerous rows of movie-theater style rope, just to gain entrance into the grounds. Once inside there are several things you notice. Most people marveled at the water falling into the gigantic footprints of the Twin Towers. The giant pools of water are truly a sight to see because you really don’t get a sense for how big a building is when it is standing. However, these two giant gaping holes in the ground remind you of how massive these buildings were. Even more sobering are the names of people who died backlit in bronze.
For me, I noticed that we were in the middle of Lower Manhattan, in New York City, yet I could hear birds chirping and I could smell everything BUT the city that I had inhaled on the other side of the memorial barriers. It was different. You see there were hundreds of trees, grass that you could (when the weather allowed) walk barefoot on. The designers made the memorial a serene place that you could visit and stay for a while. You could easily forget where you were, the things you needed to do that day, or the next hour because of the deafening silence from the city that this sacred ground provided.
Looking back a year and a half later, I want to go back and see how things have grown and changed. You see, we visited at dusk, and I had no idea that the skyline of NYC and all of the 8 million people who live there would disappear into the night. Standing at the edge of the waterfalls reading the names of people who died and not hearing a taxi or bus or really anything other than the water splashing below us stands out in my mind as the exclamation point to this trip. Sure, there was delicious food, Central Park, and other attractions around the city, but the thing you don’t want to miss is a little piece of silence in an extremely loud part of the city that will make a lasting impression on you.
If you ever make it to New York City, do yourself a favor, and plan your visit. It’s worth the wait in line to see and touch the almost three thousand names illuminated around the base of the pools where the Twin Towers once stood.