The 911 Memorial... New York
Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 07:55PM
Cheryl Crotty

From the beauty of Central Park to the sadness of the newly opened 911 Memorial, our hearts were full. Both events brought with them an all consuming, in the moment, gift.  One of such beauty and light.  Laughter and brightness.  A sign of hope and renewal each season and each year.  The other the sadness of loss, the vulnerability of life, the strength of the human spirit and then, like the Park, the signs of renewal.  

On our last day in the City we decided to visit the 911 Memorial..It is an amazing tribute to all that happened on that September day.  It took hours and a slowness that I'm  not usually good at.  I took my time, took it all in and tried to imagine what life must have been like in the United States on 911.  Jim and I were in Venice Italy, a complete contrast to the horror going on here.  So this was my 911 experience and it was chilling..

The very large photo above is what greets you as you enter the lobby of the Memorial.  They are the new reflection towers that rise above the resting places of the former twin towers.  They also reflect in the North Pool and the South pool.  It is a bright, airy entrance, but very quickly it turns dark and dreary and honest.  

As we went down the stairs it got colder and darker and I actually was wondering if I was going to make it through.  In the past, I have been treated for agoraphobia, and sometimes it roars it's ugly head.  This was one of those times.  The crowds were more than I like to share space with and as we descended to the bottom the darkness grew.  I also had no idea of how big, or how long the journey was.  I usually do o.k. if I can find my way out.  I think what happened for me on this journey was, I reached a point of no return, both figuratively and mentally.  I really wanted to be a part of that day, finally.  I wanted to see what you all experienced.  I wanted to see what my kids felt, smelled and saw.  How they survived without either myself or their Dad here to help alleviate their fear.  My hope is that because they only had each other and my Mom that it brought them together on a level that will have so much meaning for them as life goes on. A stronger connection for having shared this horrific event.  So I moved on.  One step at a time.



This was one of the Reflection towers outside of the Memorial can see a bit of the second Reflection tower on the right.  You don't need a map to get here...just look up.

The Reflection towers stand by the two pools, the North Pool and the South Pool...the pools are built where the base of the two towers stood before the attack.  Both pools have the names of the victims embossed in them, the North pool...represent Flight 11.   The south pool represents First Responders, Flight 175, the Pentagon, Fight 77 and Flight 93. It is a sobering experience to see the names and the little holes drilled in next to each name, big enough to hold a flower stem, for anyone who wants to leave one.  My aunt lost her niece on Flight 11, she was the head stewardess so we put a pink rose there for Susan.

This is the before photo as you start your walk down the stairs...inside the Memorial.  New York has always had a beautiful skyline..

This is now looking down into the basement of the tower...I don't remember which one.  The tall center piece list all the names of the fights and rescue equiptment that went in that day.  As we decend, it gets colder and darker.

Now we are in the basement of one of the Towers...they were able to save this in the excavation process...really rather amazing and scary.  The original strength of the tower...still standing.  Of course they had a rail up so that it was not touchable.  

A portrait of the skyline at night.  So beautiful.  A reminded at the bottom of what it used to represent as you entered the city by plane.  

A short distance from the photo above...this shot of the moving in the water...not such a pretty scene...

All along the base of that original basement, with all that steel on the floor bottom, above were photo's and written words of the tragic event and then the process of building this this time I had forgotten my fears and was in this state of sheer amazement at not only the process of what this re-building must have been like but the gratitude for all who took the job on.  For the love of their the city and the people and to show honor to those who gave their life in the great tragedy.  I don't think I have ever been moved so much.

Then came the aritfacts from that day...this is the fire truck from Ladder Company 3. the first truck on the scene I believe...

I'm hoping that you might be able to read this does explain it better than I could.

This is the back end of Ladder 3.  On the other side the tires were just blown out...I was in tears by this point, trying very hard to hold it together as I thought of what I had missed and I was surely getting the message of how much our world had changed because of this one day in history.

I was drained when we exited the Memorial.  So many thoughts swirling through my head.  When the attack happened and I wasn't here..I could think and process in a less emotional way.  We didn't return for another week.  That is another story for another day...getting on a plane after this event.  As we came back out to sunshine and bright skies, I just breathed in the fresh much as I could get.  I now, on a different scale, felt what my fellow American's felt on that fatal day.  I saw the devastation and the destruction.  I processed it all over again 14 years later with a much different perspective.  Just outside the exit door there is a small dedication plaque...and this beautiful wreath was there to honor all who live beneath these towers. The flowers are replaced on a regular basis...I like to think of it as an honor to all who lost their lives that day but also as a bright reminder that life goes on and beauty can still exist in the ashes of destruction. I had never been prouder to be an American than I was on this day.  So many tragedies both below and above, some still fighting their fight for the midst of it all New York still stands proud and it retains it's beauty, both in the space here and in it's people.


Back on top, life goes on.  Tall buildings still stand, people going about their daily lives...horns tooting. I was over-stimulted...I'm so glad we came to the Memorial on our last day in the city.  It was all that I could have wanted.  I was also drained and ready to go home to my little tiny town.

One last shot as I walk home to our hotel...real life. It doesn't stop but only for a moment. Work and pleasure is what keeps us strong and alive.  A purpose.  We are all colorful threads, sewn together in the fabric of life. Our purpose in life should be to help each other in difficult times, to be a shoulder to lean on when we think we can't take another step...and together we can build and unify over and over again...New York has so many lessons to moment, one day, one trip at a time...I'll be back.

I know this is a very long post but I think most of you know that my blog is also my personal journal. Sometimes, something touches me deeply and I can't explain it in a few words or a few photo's...This journey was one of those times...Life is beautiful, I am so fortunate, but sometimes we feel our own pain and sometimes we take on the sorrow of our fellow man.  I felt all of that on this trip.

About the photo's...all of them were taken with the Fuji X-E2...For the most part they are straight out of the camera...except for a bit of adjustment in the exposure and shadows.  None have any filters and only one has a pre-set.  I felt it was really important to share the photo's of the Memorial as real as I could.  I did not want it to be overshadowed by fancy editing.  I feel this way about most of my nature's just who I am...not to say that I don't use editing for creative purposes, because I do.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of New York City...a city that never sleeps.  The energy brings such a creative power.  The people, the food and the old fashion neighborhoods where people still sit on the stoop or in little parks, corner stores.  All of this would have reminded me of the "good ole days"...and then along came 911...but like the people that dwell in this city, I to, will not let that day define me.  Life is to be lived...New York, New York...your a HELLA OF A TOWN...

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