On a rare trip to New York City, I planned to visit the tourist spots—museums, parks, the harbor. The World Trade Center was on the list, although as an afterthought. A construction site piled with materials and machines, with the additional burden of horrible memories, didn’t seem as if it could offer much. I was wrong.
Beauty is not the intent of the duo-sited memorial, although somehow that’s incorporated. Instead the multiple levels of cascading water flowing down walls into deeper and deeper pools made me think of the plunge made by many of the victims and the walk down numerous flights of stairs by the survivors. The names of fatalities etched into the walls showed the diversity of people affected. Overhead and around, new construction reminded me that human life continues even in the midst of tragedy.
Visitors of all ages and backgrounds assumed a respectful attitude appropriate for a shrine. No shouting, running, fighting, littering. I saw more than one individual with tear-filled eyes and several openly sobbing. “9/11, what a waste of human life,” I thought, “what a tragedy.”
Then I realized a more important concept: the waters show how all our lives (both those on-site and us who viewed from afar) mingle. We’re all connected, so we’d best be kind to one another.
I haven’t used the World Trade Center as inspiration for my work yet. But I hope to keep its most important message front and center—live every moment to its fullest.
Bonnie McCune, author, “A Saint Comes Stumbling In.” http://BonnieMcCune.com
©2012, Bonnie McCune. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.