These are the posts that I find the hardest too write. How do I express the words in my heart today and every 9/11 anniversary thereafter. As I sit here clutching my tear soaked Kleenex I felt somewhat compelled to watch footage of the tragic tale that unfolded ten years ago today. I don’t want to forget, at least a part of me does not want to forget. I want my children to remember but they were too young and one of them not even yet born. How do I explain to her why I cry? I shield her from the footage of the planes and the horrific sounds from the television but one day she will know. I want to protect her from that feeling of having your sense of security stripped away in a matter of minutes.
My son drew this when he was in preschool ten years ago. I shared it last year on my first 9/11 anniversary post. I had no idea how much he absorbed those days that followed. I treasure this always.
As I sit here and watch live coverage of the memorial on CNN I am struck by the number of 10 year old children who are there today reading names as part of the memorial service, children who were born to a parent that did not survive the attacks. Children whose parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who were not present to see their first birthday. And then there are the parents who lost their children. One of the victims mothers quoted the book Love You Forever my ears immediately perked up, I started to sob as I heard her say:
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.”
How on earth do you move on from such a dark place? For all the parents who lost a child on that day I grieve with you as a parent. No one should have to outlive their child.
For the first time today we are seeing the 9/11 Memorial which will be open to the public tomorrow and immediately rise to the top of my bucket list. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that visiting ground zero was not on that list until today. I don’t know why but I have included a visit on my trip NYC next year. The 9/11 Memorial is the most beautiful expression of love and remembrance I have ever seen. The winning architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker were chosen among 5000 applicants. Collectively they felt it important that the space resound with a feeling of absence. From their design statement:
“This memorial proposes a space that resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. It is located in a field of trees that is interrupted by two large voids containing recessed pools. The pools are set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. A cascade of water that describes the perimeter of each square feeds the pools with a continuous stream. They are large voids, open and visible reminders of the absence.”
photo source: CNN.com
“The 2,983 names of the men, women, and children killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993, are inscribed into bronze parapets surrounding the twin Memorial pools, located in the footprints of the Twin Towers.” – 9/11 memorial.org
photo source: 9/11 memorial.org
One of the most heartfelt stories I came across today was about those 2983 names above and their “meaningful adjacencies“. When it came to placement of the names of the victims there was a considerable amount of thought put into how they should be placed. Listing in alphabetical order seemed cold like a ‘elevator directory’ so the designers came up with an idea that every family member could request who their mother, father, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, grandparent or grandchild’s name was next to, the result took the coordination of over 1200 requests. You will now find family members, brothers and colleagues listed next to one another as it should be.
You can visit the memorial website and find an interactive map that lists all the victims and locates where they can be found on the memorial. I found Peter Burton Hanson, he was on flight 175 with his wife, Sue Kim and his 2 year old daughter, Christine. I have watched Peter’s mother recount that phone call she received from her son while on the plane and for some reason I always think of this family every September. I wish I could pay tribute to them all some how.
As I clicked through the recounts of 9/11 on CNN I came across the story of a houseplant. The story is told from a worker specializing in wireless technology who went to ground zero on Sept. 12, 2001 equipment with devices to locate victims, he talked about the dense debris that surrounded him and how apparent it was that the force of the collapse would leave little or no pockets for life. What he did find atop a pile of rubble was a small root ball void of any stems or leaves. He took it home and 10 years later it thrives.
This story lifted me today and reminded me that life is just one long continual cycle of death and rebirth. I have always connected with this thought that during those periods of darkness comes a ray of light that takes seed and through the grace of God, the Almighty, Mother Earth, Master, whatever you believe in breathes new life into that seed that rises again with a renewed sense of purpose and hope for the future.
For me Stravinsky’s Firebird Suitefrom Disney’s Fantasia 2000 illustrates this perfectly. I have shared this video with you before when I found myself lying on the floor of my closet feeling quite broken and full of hopelessness. I hope it brings you comfort today that we will as nation and a global community move forward with a renewed sense of purpose to bring light to a place that was once dark.