My first visit to the big apple was a big deal for me. I was excited and nervous about the trip, which was to be a 15 day vacation for us, starting in New York City. In 2011, 10 years [almost] to the day after the tragedy that shook the nation took place; and 20 years after my family and I immigrated to America, I was standing at ground zero.
Walking through the construction zone of the Freedom Tower to the National September 11 Memorial, I could feel sorrow hanging in the air. Even though I was looking forward to stepping foot on this sacred ground, I could not bring myself to smile. I was closer to crying. Walking up to the reflecting pools, the scale and sound of the flowing water overcomes you. Then silence. Seeing everyone’s name etched into stone makes it all the more real. Loved ones leave mementos in cracks and crevices of the carved names of their lost family members, friends, and colleagues. Acorn Oak Trees are freshly planted throughout, their significance not lost on me. Oak trees symbolize strength, life, and are considered a sacred tree in many religions as well as in mythology.
I will always remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the terribly tragic news. This is my tribute, even though small — to the lives lost on September 11, 2001.
9/11 memorial photos