I remember I was watching the morning news when the first plane hit. I was confused by what I saw on the television but was looking right at it when the second hit. One of the first things that went through my mind was I was glad my dad was not here to see this. He instilled how important it was to honor our country and he served overseas in World War II to help ensure his kids were safe in their own country. This kind of terrorist attack was what he fought against. So that his kids did not have to see such atrocities as he saw fighting that war. I knew that was why he was called home in October 2001. To greet all those souls when they arrived in heaven.
I sat in front of the television and ended up late for work. I was stunned and could not have done my work no mater what I tried. My mind kept going back to the moment when I saw that second plane hit. I knew it was intentional even though my mind did not believe it. I never would have thought that twelve years later I would visit the place it happened.
I had never been to New York before, in fact I had never been on a plane before I went to my Nephew’s wedding in New Jersey in February of 2010. I had a fear of heights which carried over to being afraid of flying. My oldest sister passed away in 1998 and I have always been close with her three son’s, who are only 8 years younger than me. I grew up with them and when they were young it was like we were brothers and sister rather than nephews and aunt. When they moved to New Jersey in 2007 I was devastated. I thought for sure I would never see them again. That was until the day the oldest called me and told me he was getting married. With my sister being gone I felt it was the right thing to do, to face my fear, get on a plane, and represent my sister at his wedding.
That first plane ride was one of the scariest things I have ever done. But I did it and it didn’t kill me so I returned in July to see the younger nephew who had the lead role in a play. I stayed a couple of weeks and they insisted they take me to New York. Now I had no desire to go to the city, in fact it scared the hell out of me, but I played along. I did not know what to expect other than all the really tall buildings and lots of people. I hate crowds and had a horrible fear of this big city. Lets just say that TV does not always portray New York as a safe place to go. That first trip conquered my flying fear and reminded me of how safe I always felt with my nephews around me.
The middle nephew had to be away from home in September of 2011 so I went back to New Jersey for a couple of months to help out with his teenaged kids. While I was there my niece had gotten tickets to see the 9/11 memorial and invited me along. I was excited and scared. Of course it is scary going to a place which had so much devastation. I was not sure if I was going to be able to handle all the pain the site held.
I have to admit it was an experience I would do again. I was afraid that I would feel the terror the hero’s felt when they perished. I found that the memorial was an eerily peaceful place. Yes I cried a few tears but I don’t feel like the people’s souls who were murdered still remain in this place. I was amazed at all the different nationalities that were represented there. All of us there to show our respect to those who lives were sacrificed.
It is really a peaceful place. It is unexpectedly quiet and serene, but at the same time commands respect. I found a bench and sat down to take it all in. It was a warm day and as I sat I felt a cold breeze pass hitting first my legs and then my arms causing goose pimples. I feel it was the angels who reassured me the souls are not trapped but have made it to the other side in record time.
The two big water features are amazing and they bring about a calm sense to the area. The noise from the fountains drowns out the noise from the city. You can’t help being touched by the memories this sacred place holds. It certainly is a touching tribute to those who fell that day, September 11, 2001, a day I will never forget.
© notsofancynancy 2012