Rebuilding Love, Hope and Faith!

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“May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance.”

-9/11 Memorial Mission Statement

I had a very hard time making the decision to launch my blog on 9/11 because of the immense, overwhelming emotions that surround this particular day. This, after all, was the worst terrorist attacks on U.S soil, killing almost 3,000 people. It was a very emotional journey for me to visit the memorial site and to sit down to write this piece. I'm grateful for that opportunity and today I'm asking each one of you to take a moment with me to remember and honor everyone that lost their lives on that day and to applaud those that tirelessly fought to save the lives of others.

At the time of the attacks I was in Kenya. Unbeknownst to me, four years later I would be walking past the World Trade Center site every single day and witness history in the making. Every day for three and half years, I would get on the E train to the last stop, Chambers Street/World Trade Center. The first thing that greeted me as I got off the train was the noise from the construction. Even the constant honking from the yellow cabs could not compete with that.

Looking back now, I realize how important that noise was and still is. In 2011, 10 years after the attacks, the 9/11 Memorial was finally opened. When someone loses a loved one, there’s a certain sense of closure that they get when they see the body and say their final goodbyes. I believe the memorial provided this sense of closure to a lot of people that were robbed of their right to say goodbye to their loved ones who passed on.

This piece could not be complete without me visiting the 9/11 Memorial Site so on Sept 4th, 2013, i did just that with one of my good friends. There is still a lot of construction going on as the rebuilding of The World Trade Center continues. Upon arriving at the temporary entrance, the place is surrounded by a lot of cops and security guards and everyone has to go through tight security screening before they are allowed entrance into the site.

The memorial itself was designed by architect Michael Arad and the landscape was designed by architect Peter Walker. The first thing one notices upon entering the site are the white oak trees that surround the entire site on white concrete floor with the exception of the callery pear tree known as the ‘Survivor Tree,” as it is the only tree that survived the devastating effects of the attacks. From a distance, one can hear the faint sound of the waterfalls that get louder as one approaches the North and South Pools that stand right where the Twin Towers used to be. The 30 ft waterfalls (the largest manmade waterfalls in North America) cascade down into the pool of reflecting waters and then descend into a center void. One has to pay place close attention to notice that the tempo and pattern of the water is different at each level where it drops. It is quietly still at the top level and then drops at a fast tempo then slows down as it cascades down into the void.

The names of the victims, which include First Responders, WTC South and North, Flights  93, 77, 175, 11, Pentagon and those that died February, 26, 1993, are all inscribed in bronze around the pools. The layout of the names is based on where the victims were on 9/11.

Right next to each pool now stands the new buildings. By the North Pool is 1 World Trade Center, which will be the tallest building in the United States at 1,776 feet. By the South Pool is 4 World Trade Center, which will hold 72 floors and rise to 977 feet tall. The redeveloped center will include the Memorial, Museum, commercial office space, retail and connections to public transit.

There’s a certain aura surrounding the memorial site that is serene and sacred despite the commotion from hundreds of tourists that visit the site each day. Personally, I think there’s something to be learnt from this whole rebuilding process. To me it symbolizes hope, hope for a better tomorrow and hope that each one of us, all over the world, will not be intimidated but will stand up against anyone that threatens our freedom, especially those that have no regard for the sanctity of life.

The attacks in New York saw people from all over the world, every country, every community, regardless of color, age, religion, class, etc., come together in the spirit of unity and love for one another. And they continue to show this same spirit every anniversary. Even as we remember those that lost their lives and celebrate and applaud those that bravely fought to save the lives of many, on the 12th anniversary of 9/11, my prayers go out to all the families that lost a loved one. May God continue to comfort and strengthen them each passing day. Let us all do our part of spreading love in the world, not hate!

“Faith makes all this possible. Love makes all things easy. Hope makes all things work.” -Unknown

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You can read more about the 9/11 Memorial by visiting the site here.

Thank you for stopping by. Until next time!

God bless,