911 Memorial, New York City 2017

March 19, 2017

It has been a long time since the world sat in silent horror watching the airplanes crash into the trade towers. I can remember the surreal  emotions of terror that the attack  evoked. Sitting watching this knowing it was real and yet it wasn’t because it was on television where all kinds of awful things transpire that have no effect on my  or my neighbors lives. In some distant place called New York City thousands had just been murdered in front of me and the horror was somehow distant, intangible. I was numb to the emotions and my life went on with a prayer for the survivors I moved on with my life always aware in a  corner of my mind that somebody hated my country enough to kill innocent people to make a point. That somebody [we were told] was al-Qaeda, a Muslim sect that decided we were the enemy and had to be destroyed.

I am not sure they accomplished what they set out to do.

What I see is that in the terror attacks America was bonded together with most of the world by a common insult, this one act precipitated a war that targeted a country and a religion. The country was “guilty” of harboring  terrorists [now you can say what ever you like hind site is 20/20] and the religion was responsible for encouraging Jihad on the infidels. The war is still not over, it is hard to defeat  an opinion through violence, but we had to do something. Turning the other cheek only meant disrespect for those that lost their lives with no clear reason. An eye for an eye seemed to be the only response strong enough to avenge them.

I had never been to New York City until this week. I came as a lot of people, a tourist. This is where the immigrants entered the country and the welcoming Lady of Liberty resides. I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. I wanted to visit the place that our founding fathers had walked and the seat of the financial world. The 911 Memorial was on that list, but not my main interest.

March 25, 3017

Now, I have had a week to digest the sights and sounds of the past week I am still wrestling with the impact on me.

Upon entering the memorial the remnants the Twin Towers are displayed as evidence of the destruction. The presence of these twisted pieces of super structure are reminders of the tortured buildings and lives  of the survivors. The galleries are full of the pictures of the destruction. It is black, dark and somber. You don’t notice at first, but as you ascend into the exhibit the odors of hot steel and crumbling cement start to permeate the air. This smell comes very noticeable as you get deeper into the experience. I didn’t notice the acrid odor of jet fuel being in the mix, but the smell is effective in giving a feel of what the day was like. There are pictures of the victims of the attack that cover the walls of one room.  As you proceed you start hearing the  voices of the ones left, family, coworkers and friends saying the names of the victims and their relationship. This personal touch gives them life and makes them real.  Then as you descend to the lowest level, you find the remains of the fire engine that was mashed by derbies. More memorabilia, the concrete stairs that are pulverized by falling concrete and pictures of the skyline before and during the disaster. The billowing smoke over the towers being dark and angry looking.

All in all it is worth the visit. I can’t imagine visiting with personal experience [It is emotional when you only have watched the horror develop from afar]. The emotions would be very hard to handle.

What I was left with is, this was a horror visited on thousands of innocent victims and only served to galvanize the country against a country and religion. The ones of that country and religion that are innocent and were just as horrified are also victims. They have been vilified because of the actions of radical extremists. We are as a nation punishing them.

We have erected a shrine to the victims to remind us.

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