Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 9/11 Memorial

I'm writing this from 30,000 feet. I still marvel at technology. I'm using the Internet on the plane, while the man sitting next to me is reading a book on his iPad (the Steve Jobs biography ironically enough -- not that I looked over his shoulder or anything). I really don't like to fly, so being able to shop play online, is now another thing in my arsenal to take my mind off the ever-present fear.

I'm headed back from NYC, where I was since Monday for a business trip. I don't travel for work a lot, so when an opportunity comes up, it feels like a treat.

I was booked back-to-back for some really neat and exciting meetings. I barely had time to take a breather, but I managed to squeeze in a little time with some of my favorite people on the planet and meet my dear friend's adorable and perfect baby boy!

And, lucky for me, this morning I mis-read my calendar and thought a 11 a.m. meeting was actually at 10. This left me with an hour to kill. I jumped in a cab and went to the 9/11 memorial. I can imagine the mere mention of downtown Manhattan is still heartbreaking for some, but for me, to stand on this ground has been calling me ever since my first glimpse of the devastation in 2001.

As I write this, just mere hours later, I'm still reveling in the calm and serenity of the memorial, on the exact site that brought anything but. When I rounded the corner, after weaving through the fences protecting visitors from the overwhelming amount of construction to rebuild the NYC skyline, into the memorial site I instantly knew I was witnessing one of the most unbelievable, breathtaking, historical, sad and poignant things I've ever seen.

This first picture is of the tree that survived at the base of one of the towers. It was miraculously nurtured back to health and re-planted among the hundreds of trees within the memorial site.  It stands out from the others and seems at rest in the foreground of the unbelievably beautiful (more so in person that in pictures) Freedom Tower.

The pools are just, for lack of a better word, perfect.  And, something I couldn't fully appreciate or capture on TV, was the sound of the water. When I walked up, first to the North pool, the closer and closer I got, I noticed the the noise of the water melted away all other sounds. By the time I was standing overlooking the heartbreaking and all-so-real rows and rows of names, I forgot I was in NYC, in the middle of a HUGE construction site and surrounded by people. All I could hear was the peaceful sound of the water.

There was something about being there, especially alone.  No one really talked, but when I met eyes with passersby, the Port Authority police security or volunteer workers, the eyes said it all. 

Sadly, I only had 15 minutes to spend there. I know I'll return to take the proper time to pay tribute.

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