Our day began early. We had just spent the first night in our brand new home, and we were eager to get on with the day. There was much to do. The coffee was brewing, and we were entranced by the morning light and the unfamiliar view. We decided to take a few minutes to enjoy the experience. We turned on a portable radio, hoping to find some pleasant music. It was not yet 7 a.m. in Santa Fe, NM.
The announcer’s voice was strained; the words made little sense: smoke – airplane – accident – tragedy – disaster – New York . . .
Amid the chaos of packed boxes and the jumble of furniture, we located a small black and white television set. We plugged it in, and were immediately immersed in another kind of chaos.
The date was September 11, 2001.
Our world changed in an instant.
We poured our coffee and stood mesmerized, watching grainy live coverage, not able to hold back the tears, not believing what we were seeing, not able to speak.
Seventeen years later, the pain is still real, the memories intense. Strangely, with the passage of time, new reminders are increasingly evident.
The World Took Note
In February, at the World War II Museum and Memorial in Caen, France, we gazed with surprise at a piece of twisted steel girder on permanent display in the courtyard,a grim reminder of the day a part of the soul of New York collapsed in a heap of rubble. It caused a wrenching emotional reaction in this building where the horrors of war are real and all too painful.
In May, on a spit of land in Bayonne, N.J., across the Harbor from where the Twin Towers stood in Manhattan, we were struck by the breathtaking beauty of a symbolic teardrop. It symbolizes loss, but somehow it is a testament to hope. Though not well known, the sculpture by artist Zurab Tsereteli was an official gift to the United States from the Russian government.Dedicated to the struggle against world terrorism, the sculpture park is testimony to the global impact of 9-11. Today, it is a place for reflection, and the busy life of the harbor continues all around, with the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center site both a part of the remarkable scene.
Today, we paid a visit to Fort Worth’s Museum of Science & History to view the Tribute Exhibit in the building’s Urban Lantern. Its existence is not at all a secret, but it’s not a prime attraction either. However, once seen, Column 133, Steel N-101, which helped support floors 100-103 of the North Tower, the first to be struck 17 years ago, will not be easily forgotten.
That’s as it should be.
Today, on Rosh Hashanah, it is especially fitting to remember, and also to look ahead.
Shanah Tovah; may the coming year be good for us all.