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Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Memorial Visit

Almost eleven years ago stood two colossal glass coated structures. Now, in its place are two deep cavities in the form of a water fountain or pool.  

I came across the 9/11 Memorial site by accident, on my way to Washington Street to research a location for one of my novels. When I realized my proximity to the location I decided that it wouldn't hurt to check it out. Apparently a pass is needed to enter the site, which you acquire from their website. However, in the wake of Presidents Day, the passes were readily available on spot.

Strangely, I learnt about the twin towers the day they were destroyed. It was merely two months into my first year at Albion College in Michigan, when a girl from our dorm burst into my room, exclaiming, "Oh my God, they just hit the towers!"  My roommate, who has lived in America for quite some time, responded with knowing shock, while I, on the other hand, was just bewildered.  

This wasn’t the welcome to America I anticipated. What I saw on the news channel felt like a movie.  In fact I was convinced that it was, until the channel changed and I saw the same thing. And the same thing again and again, which was a lofty pointed glass building with one of its sides burning—soot, rubble, and unidentified objects falling from it in the process. It appeared the other—its twin, still untouched, watched helplessly as the mirror image of itself burnt and slowly crumbled. For weeks a heavy and foreboding sadness mixed with anger and confusion settle over the college.

Inside the 9/11 Memorial site
Now, I have finally acquainted myself with what has become a part of America's scar. It was extremely cold that day, but I curiously joined the long line of visitors and accepted my pass from the officers donned in their 9/11 Memorial jackets. After the line sluggishly progressed, my pass was scanned. I went through the security check point, had the pass marked with a red permanent marker then followed the queue into what resembled a park. The winter season made it appear starkly destitute, with no semblance of lushness or green trees. The main attraction, though, were the fountains that indicated where the towers once stood. The names of the lives lost from the September 2011 attack and the Pentagon bombing were engraved all around it, and I along with everyone else just took it in, feeling something, yet, at times, feeling nothing but the biting cold.  The sound of drills, cranes and the like humming heavily in the background, as construction won’t be completed until 2014.

The museum was closed that day, so there was only so much exploring I could do. One thing is certain, the two dents in America’s history have managed not be an eye sore, but more a tourist attraction.

Have you visited the 9/11 Memorial site yourself?  Feel free to share your thoughts and experience.

See more images  within and around the memorial site:
Except for coins. Many visitors treated it like a wishing well

A few sombre faces take in one of the memorial pools
An unfinished section of the site
An intriguing root-like sculpture at the Trinity Chapel on Wall Street (a corner away from the Memorial site)

Good ol' Borders... what's left of it (across the street from the Chapel/Church)

Love this shot of the street by the Trinity Chapel, just around the corner from the 9/11 Site


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