Posted by: hockeygrl1 | December 1, 2011

A visit in the rain

I visited New York City last week. It was because of a happy thing, my daughter danced in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I find myself reflecting most about something more somber.

I was a cold rainy day in NYC. We had spent the day with our daughters and had just saw the Rockette’s Christmas show. We got on the Subway and began our journey to the financial district of NYC.

As we left the safe dry area of the subway and entered the cold pouring rain, everyone became more morose. We were looking in the dark and rain for the entrance, yet all in a place all our own.  I was reflecting on the happenings in this area 10 years ago; how it brought me great sadness and fear of more things happening. I pictured all the dust and smoke rising over the buildings and began to cry. I pushed these feeling back and followed the group of teenagers and parents down the dark wet streets.

We had a journey alright. We had to go all the way around to get in. Soon we were all checked in and on our way to a number of check points. I think our tickets were checked 5 times and all of us and our bags went through airport like security. Finally, there was just 1 check point between us and our detestation.

As I rounded the last corner and it came it to view I felt a heaviness inside me. My daughter explained that she felt the same thing once we got back to the hotel. It was still pouring rain and it was 6pm so it was dark out. It felt eerie and sad. We walked over to the closest pool. (I believe this was the South Pool) My daughter and I stopped and touched a name. This name was of a person we never meet or knew, yet the emotions began to pour out of me like the rain.

South Pool

The water was dancing in the lights as it flowed down in to the dark middle. It almost felt like it was flowing down in to the earth just like the towers fell. I saw a flag stuck in one of the names. It had a picture and a flower with it. The flag was dancing along with the water in the pool. The sound of the water flowing was soothing, yet my mind and body were nothing but a mess.

Flag in Name

Cassie and I turned to walk toward the second pool and future museum. I paused to look at the trees. I knew that one survived the destruction and I wanted a picture. When I paused to take a picture, this woman bent down and with a somber face placed a cross at the tree’s base. I cannot put into words the sadness that came over me. It wasn’t just me, 6 or so other people saw it was well and we have a group hug and cry together. It all just became so real. It was like I was watching the 2nd plane crash into the tower before I started work. I could see the people jumping to their death because it was so horrible in the building. Finally, I pictured them falling and all the dust covering the city. All this was in the simple gesture.

Survivor tree

As we recovered from our group cry, most of us made our way over to the museum and other pool. In the museum windows I could see the familiar beams from the World Trade Center buildings. They looked just like the ones that were standing above the rubble first responder’s were looking for survivors in. It was still pouring. I was looking at these beams that were sprayed with water while they looked to put out hot spots and keep the toxic dust down thinking that the rain was there to give me more of a feeling of that sad day.

World Trade Center Beam

They towered over us and the pools. These beams used to welcome people into the twin towers now they welcomed people to visit and remember a dark day, a day that those of us that watched what happened will never forget. I tried to explain what I felt that day to my daughter before.

She was only 6 when it happened. She remembers doing art projects and the teachers leaving the room all looking emotional. She remembers coming home and seeing the shock on my face. She remembers me crying while watching the news. She didn’t know what happened. I told her that some people felt the need to attack the United States and that a lot of people died, I know her and her brother didn’t understand, but they do now. Every year we watch the coverage on History Channel. I feel the need to educate them and they appreciate the police and firefighters that risk their lives so we can be saved.

Cassie understands now. She felt the sadness and emptiness of the memorial. It is a heavy feeling, a feeling of sorrow and pain. It’s a feeling that will stay with me and I know I will feel it every September 11. We were getting ready to leave the memorial and Cassie pointed out the flag in a building behind the pools. It was there behind the new tower in view of the old pool and it was strong.

Flag in building

I was there showing the strength and determination of our great nation. It gave me peace. We made our way to the temporary visitor center. It’s just a small room on the way out of the memorial. It was dry and contained more memories.

Fire hat

It contained a fireman’s hat covered with dust and bent from the impact of the towers. Emotions came flooding back. Memories of the time it hit me, no one is going to be rescued, and I had tears in my eyes again. These rescuers went into these buildings knowing the dangers and gave their lives to try to save others. They had to know there was a chance the towers would fall, but they still climbed the stairs. They are heroes.

Cassie and I chose not to go see the Empire State Building after this visit. We were cold and wet and tired, but I think it was mostly emotional exhaustion from reliving this horrible day in history. I’m sad that I had to see this; I mean I wish it didn’t happen, but I needed to see it because it did. I finally, after 10 years, had closure. I paid my respects to all those that died because of terrorism. I hope something like this never happens again.

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