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By October 31, 2014Uncategorized

National 9.11 Memorial August 2011 - Credit Joe Woolhead - 87_6

I visited the 9/11 Memorial, officially called the National September 11 Memorial, in New York City last week.

The Memorial commemorates the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. by way of three hijacked commercial airplanes, plus a fourth hijacked plane which crashed in Pennsylvania, all of which happened on 11 September 2001.

The attacks on the World Trade Centre resulted in the total collapse of both the Twin Towers, the burning upper floors simply falling one on the other all the down to “Ground Zero”, a frightening, unbelievable event.  The Memorial also commemorates the bomb attack on the World Trade Centre on 26 September 1993.  There were 2,977 victims in the 2011 attacks and six victims in the 1993 attack.

The Memorial consists of two large square pools where the Twin Towers once stood. Each pool has a continuous flow of water down its walls, with the water draining into a large hole in the centre whose bottom cannot be seen from the side of the pool. The whole site symbolized to me life in the ever flowing water going into the hole in the centre whose depths cannot be fathomed. On the side of both pools are plates bearing the names of all the victims of the two attacks in 2001 and 1993.

I also visited the 9/11 Museum on the site that recounted the attacks and exhibited remnants of the 2001 attack, a solemn reminder of brave men and women who fought the fires and mounted the rescue efforts and eventually lost their own lives, as well as the thousands of victims who never knew that was going to be their last day of life on this earth.

The Memorial and Museum were sombre and sobering, as they ought to be. Displayed prominently was a quotation from Virgil made from metal from the collapsed buildings: NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME.

It takes a little time to soak in the power and emotions of those words.

At the end of the visit to the Memorial and Museum, there remains just four words to express the feelings:  Reflect, Remember, Hope, and Honour.

At these times, all offence is forgotten, all imperfections are set aside, and all that remains is appreciation of the goodness of those lost, the pain of separation, and the reality of those who are left behind to live on day by day.

Death brings Honour to the fore.  

Just a thought:  Why should we find it so difficult to bring Honour to the fore when people are still alive, to Honour each other as human beings, each with our strengths and weaknesses, our hopes and dreams, our need for encouragement and achievement, our desire for success and purpose, courage, and wisdom?

Photo credit: Joe Woolhead

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