I've been to plenty of memorials in my life. All of them have always seemed like a sad piece of history, but nothing has every made me feel completely sorrowful like seeing the memorial pools where the Twin Towers used to stand. I know it's because this is the first "history" that I remember living through. I remember that morning so well.
The pools are such a beautiful tribute to the nearly 3,000 people they are dedicated to. Seeing each of those names inscribed, one after the other, brings such a solemn reverence to the entire park. They list mommies, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and so many unborn babies (who would now be teenagers). Even though the events that day seem all too familiar, walking past all those names makes you think about how truly unfathomable it all still is.
Near the pools, there are construction machines busily building the new additions to the World Trade Center complex. It's kind of poetic that all that new growth surrounds the reminder of such tragic events. It perfectly balances the continual somber mourning with the strength to move on.
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge -- huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.”
– U.S. President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001