The September 11 Memorial site has been on my list of “things to do” for the entire time I’ve lived here. However, it’s one of those sites that you have to be in the right kind of mood for: those bright, sunny, happy late summer afternoons and crisp, colorful autumn morning and blustery winter wonderland days never enticed me to go to the site of so much sadness. As a miserable gray cloud of rain overtook the city on a late winter morning, I finally ventured down to the Financial District with a friend.
I was 14 when the Twin Towers fell: a freshman in high school who couldn’t quite grasp the magnitude of the tragedy unfolding across the country. Yet visiting Ground Zero as a (young) adult brought it all home: the sheer bad luck of just another work day, the incredible bravery and sacrifice of our firemen and policemen, the fateful decision of a few that affected so many. The site itself is beautifully constructed to encourage that sort of quiet, serious reflection.
The sheer amount of space indicates the severity of the situation: where else in Manhattan can you find such a large swath of prime real estate dedicated to the past instead of looking toward the future? In all seriousness, it’s a visually stunning and emotionally hard-hitting memorial that is a testament to 9/11 itself, its victims and its survivors. Highly worth a visit if you’re in New York City; however, worth noting that while tickets are free, you do need to reserve in advance.
In memory of all who were lost: never forget.