Friday, November 05, 2010

Rebuilding Ground Zero

November 10, husband and I were in New York city visiting colleges with my youngest daughter. As we were walking on Columbia University's campus, we heard whispers and then people pausing and looking around as if searching for something. People started hearing about a plane that had crashed near New York city. This was just two months after 911. Fear clutched at my throat. We walked to the car, turned on the radio and listened for any news. There was a plane crash but it did not appear to be another attack from a terrorist group. Still, we questioned, "Should
we continue with the tours or try to head for home?"

We continued with the planned tours and then, later in the day we walked down to Ground Zero, the former site of the Twin Towers. This was just two months after the terrorist attack and there were barricades keeping much of the area from sight. The scent of burning smoke still reached our eyes and noses. People were sitting on the sidewalks with tears or in prayer. The silence was eerie. People walked and conversed in quiet whispers.

October 28, 2010...almost nine years after the bombing. I was attending a conference in New York and had some free time. Within walking distance was the site of Ground Zero. I felt compelled to revisit the site. As I came closer, a rush of feelings came back from my previous visit years Businesses appeared to be back to "business as usual." People were rushing along toward jobs or errands.

The site had changed. Cranes graced the sky demonstrating the rebuilding of the former disaster. The pictures on the barricades were gone, new barricades surrounding the area were present and life appeared to be normal. I took some new shots of what is now referred to as Ground Zero and wondered if the people who work and live here think much about what happened here in 2001.

October 29, 2010...waiting for my flight to be announced for boarding. The waiting area was fairly busy. TV monitors were announcing the national and local news. As I glanced up to the monitor, a news item caught my attention. Airports were being put on high alert. I had noticed
that there were many delays from Pennsylvania, and yet, I was not aware of any major storms affecting the airlines. Our boarding gate was changed and I brushed my questions aside about the high alert.

Upon landing, I learned that the alert was a terrorist threat only this time it was packages discovered on UPS flights. As the next few days went by, more details unfolded as to the intent of the packages and the harm that could have occurred.

My plane landed safely and I was thankful. We cannot live in fear. We need to go on with our lives and rebuild but we have changed and we cannot forget those whose lives were lost on September 11, 2001.