When you travel for pleasure, you make a list of places you would like to visit. If people’s travel destination was New York City in the past 8 years or so, I would imagine that Ground Zero made it to many of their lists. When my husband and I decided to visit our friends in New York City, each of us picked one place we’d like to go during the trip. My pick was the Brooklyn Flea. His was Ground Zero.
I had visited Ground Zero 7 years ago with three of my girl friends. Back then I was able to see the bare ground as the site was only fenced around and nothing covered the view. This time there were banners all around the fence so we could not see the ground or construction except for the part of one building structure that was built up above the fence.
I remember a vast area of the land that looked like a gigantic hole and the underground structure was bare and visible. It wasn’t too long after the event, so seeing the site struck me with realization of the event. I have never seen the twin towers in person unfortunately. I really wish I had. I can imagine how difficult it must be for those who used to see the towers before 9/11 to not see them there any more.
As we were walking, we saw a group of high school students with a guide. The guide was explaining that the World Trade Center buildings were twice as tall as this building in the photo below. It’s hard to feel the size of the building in this tiny picture, but I thought I’d post it here.
We walked around the area, but there was no section we could really see beyond the fence with banners. It was difficult to feel that we were there because there was not much that made us believe that we were actually at Ground Zero. Then my husband and I passed right by the Visitor’s Center for the World Trade Center.
At first I wasn’t sure about going in with our two little girls, especially our two-year-old. I was pessimistic about my being able to even read any of the displays. Despite my concern, it all went well and I am so glad we went in together.
Since there have been documentaries and many readings about 9/11 available everywhere, what you see at the visitor center might not be new to some of you. I, however, felt that when you start seeing the displays, reading the messages, watching the motion picture and listening to the music, you are suddenly drawn into the world of 9/11. I read a phone conversation that this one victim had with his wife while he was on the high-jacked airplane. He was facing the death, accepting it and telling his wife how much he loved her and told her he wanted her to have a happy life and same to his parents. He was more concerned about his family than about himself dying. I was at a loss for words.
There was downstairs as well. We went down the stairs under thousand origami cranes (senbazuru). In Japan (and other Asian countries) it is said that if you fold 1000 origami cranes, your wish will come true.
This area was made more for the voices of the people who spoke up about their experience. There was a table with cards and pens and you can leave a note. There was a display of the selected notes on one wall.
Our older daughter doesn’t know how to write, so she had a help from her daddy to spell out something she wanted to write.
I was having many thoughts after reading and seeing the display I just saw upstairs while I was sort of keeping an eye on my two-year-old.
My heart was feeling heavy.
My younger daughter started playing with a head-set. I just let her do whatever since it wasn’t crowded and no one came there to use the head-sets.
I looked down
what my daughter was up to.
Note: This is not taken with a Photo Booth (on iMac).
I believe kids have healing power. My sorrow was blown away for a moment thanks to her.
There were many heartfelt messages on the board, but this one especially caught my attention. I can’t read Chinese, so if you read Chinese and could translate what’s written on here for me, I appreciate it!
To me there is nothing more powerful than the words left by the victims and the families who were left behind and the actions taken by some brave people who ended up losing their lives because of their decisions when it comes to understanding 9/11.
My heart goes to the families of those who lost their lives. I could only hope that all humankind will never experience such atrocity again.