New York after 9/11



Before leaving for New York most people would ask "Are you going to ground zero?". After we returned everyone asked "Did you go to ground zero?". My answer before the trip was usually "Um, I think so". As it turns out we did not go to ground zero. Three of the people we were with had already been there and Amy and I were both unsure of how we felt about visiting the site. My initial feeling was that I didn't want that to be part of my tourist destination.
I think that for most people the events of 9/11 come in and out of their lives. I am reminded of the day as I watch the news or see a bumper sticker or always when I see a fire fighter, but it is not something that is always there with me. As I traveled to New York I couldn't help but think more and more of that horrific day. When we drove up Park Avenue I saw the beauty of the city, the vibrancy, a city alive but at the same time I felt as if I was going to visit a widow.
I looked at the skyline and marveled at it's size while I tried to remember where the Twin Towers had stood. I walked down streets taking in the architecture and then wondered if this is where the ash fell and where all those people ran for their lives. One native recommended a trip on the Staten Island Ferry to see the skyline of Manhattan and finished with "of course, the towers aren't there." We watched a protest from the steps of the New York Public Library and watched some take the pamphlets and other shake their heads and walk away. I looked at the subway map and noticed 2 stations were closed, "oh, that's why those are closed."
When visiting that amazing city I felt the constant presence of 9/11 that New Yorkers must feel. Manhattan felt like a giant shrine that honors those that lost their lives and those that have kept life going without their loved ones. We were on a bus heading to the Staten Island Ferry and we caught a glimpse of ground zero. Just that passing view brought tears and emotion. I don't know if I could have managed the full view but I wish I would have tried.

My deepest sympathies to all the families touched by 9/11.