9-11 Memorial: New York City, NY

9-11 MemorialAs millions of other people did this morning, I paused shortly before 9 o’clock to remember what happened 10 years ago today.  I remember watching TV in disbelief for hours . . . days . . . when it happened, as I’m sure every American did.  Because of that, I had told myself I wasn’t going to watch today’s coverage, but I was compelled to turn the TV on briefly, and I was happy I did to see see the beautiful waterfalls that have replaced the devastation of a decade ago.

In April 2010, I was privileged to be among a small group of academics who attended a presentation and tour at the offices of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.  Located in a building next to Ground Zero, the 20th floor office offered a birds-eye view of the construction going on behind the high fences  surrounding the site, which blocked the view from street level.  What I saw was the photo above; if you look closely just right of center, you will see a square outlined in a cream color.  That’s the footprint of one of the World Trade Towers, which, along with the other footprint, has now been transformed into a beautiful waterfall — the largest man-made waterfall in the world.  Water drops 30 feet over it sides into a reflecting pool before dropping once again in the center (you can make out the center hole in the photo).  The names of all the victims of 9-11 are inscribed in bronze ledges surrounding each waterfall.  The memorial’s name, “Reflecting Absence,” is an appropriate one.

In the brief time I watched the memorial coverage this morning, I can see that the vision of those who have long planned the memorial is becoming realized.  More than 200 trees have already been planted, with more planned.  The grove and waterfalls/reflecting pools are hoped to be a place of rest and solitude among the bustling streets of New York.  Three skyscrapers being built on the site are rapidly reaching for the sky (one can be seen in the upper right corner of the photo).  When I visited the memorial offices, I also got to see plans for the museum, opening next September, along with some of the exhibits, and was impressed with the great care being given to appropriately and respectfully pay homage.  I applaud the thought and planning that has gone, and is going, into a site that is so important to our country.  Visited April 2010.

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