Wednesday, June 20, 2012

9/11 Memorial

On Friday evening after my conference wrapped up for the day, we had reservations to see the 911 Memorial. This was under construction the last time we were in New York but Tonto and I definitely wanted to make sure we had a chance to see it now that it's open.

It's really strange because I was "excited" to see it but that just seemed like the wrong word to use. And when taking pictures at the fountains, I had this internal battle going on. Smile? Don't smile? All very surreal.

As was seeing the names of all of those lost on that fateful day. The memorial is absolutely stunning, y'all, but so is the magnitude of what you're actually looking at. These were real people. With real families.

The museum is not yet open but you could look inside through the walls (they're glass) and see two amazing sights: first are the original beams that survived...

...and the second are the "survivor steps" as these are the actual steps those who survived came down on that fateful day.

I had purposely gotten the latest reservation possible because I wanted to see the fountains illuminated. Once the lights came on, it was even more stunning.

There is, of course, an American flag flying in the middle.

Me and my girl.

My girl and my man.

Precious girl. She was really moved by this memorial. Took tons of pictures and kept reading the names over and over. And, as she read, I prayed for their families because I cannot imagine it's much easier now than it was in 2001.

The skyline in the background shows you just how close this was to so many other buildings. And so many others.

My favorite view was from the corner of the memorial.

As Taylor pointed out, the fountains in the North Tower seem to run faster and a bit louder.

A look at the new World Trade Center construction from the memorial.

And looking the other way.

Dave kept saying, "This is so surreal." And he was right. It's incredible to behold such beauty in a place that we saw (through television screens and photographs) such devastation. Piles and piles of ash. Lights erected as they searched for survivors through the night.

It's breathtaking.

So much has changed in our lives - and that of our country - in the past almost 11 years but it all comes rushing back to you when you enter the memorial. It's an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. And I'm so thankful my girl was able to be there as well.

God Bless America.