Have you been to Ground Zero before?
If you haven’t, I highly recommend everyone should go and visit. I have had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero on a couple of occasions over the last ten years.
The first time I visited was about 18 months after the 9/11 attacks. I remember honestly not wanting to go. I didn’t want to ruin my exciting trip to New York City with such a sad reminder of how tragic that day had been the year before. At the same time, I knew it was something I needed to do. I had the chance to witness American History in the making. I mustered up the courage and attended.
The feelings of anger, fear and pain were still still fresh and you could not only see it, but could feel it. There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere.
The footprints of both towers were now filled with construction equipment moving dirt all around. The recovery effort was over and now the rebuilding had begun.
I don’t remember much from that visit, except for watching the construction equipment and walking by a makeshift memorial made from the walls that kept visitors out of the construction area now known as Ground Zero. These walls were filled with notes, messages and signatures from other visitors who had attended the memorial. I remember reading that the wall surrounding Ground Zero had so many visitors leave comments that they had to repaint over it almost daily to give everyone a chance to leave a lasting message.
I grabbed a nearby sharpie and added my message to the wall.
I wish I remember what I had written. I wish I had photos from the visit, (Darn pre-digital cameras!) but I still have the memories from that day.
My second visit to Ground Zero was in May 2007, when my family went to New York City for a wedding.
It had been several years since my last visit and Ground Zero had changed a lot! It no longer was just holes of tragic reminders of that day six years prior, it was being converted into a beautiful permanent memorial to honor all the people who lost and risked their lives that September day. While the sadness and reminders were still present, the mood’s of the people had improved. No longer were people frozen in the fear that plagued America after 9/11. Moods were uplifted and people were proud of the memorial that was being created.
You won’t just see memorials and reminders of 9/11 in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania – but all across the United States and the world.
While doing some research for this blog post, I was curious to see what Washington State has done to remember those lost in 9/11. I was surprised to learn that Washington State has been awarded 18 of the 1,218 pieces of steel from the World Trade Centers that was available for different towns, cities, states and even countries for their own 9/11 memorials.
The most recent one was in May 2011, when a local fire department was awarded one girder from the World Trade Center. According to the Seattle Times, “four firefighters from Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One traveled across the country and back — 6,276 miles — to pick up this piece, which is 60 inches long, 30 inches wide and weighs 986 lbs.”
I came across a You Tube video of the precession that proceeded the 9/11 girder arriving in Gig Harbor. Click HERE to check it out. Not only does it include the precession, but also a beautifully done collage of photos from 9/11 featuring Darryl Worley’s Have You Forgotten song.
And…because I’m not the only fame seeker, I learned that Alec, my “second dad,” (ya know married to Julia “second mom” and my Blue Eyed Blessings co-owner!), made a cameo in the Mercer Island Reporter to show how the Mercer Island Fire Department is honoring those lost in 9/11.
I’ve also blogged about 9/11 each year since I began my blog in 2008. You can read about my thoughts and memories of 9/11:
2008 – LIFE … HOW UNFAIR
2009 – 9/11