(Originally Posted: July 20, 2014)
GROUND ZERO, NEW YORK, NY- Yesterday, Gilberto and I went to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Trees are planted around the perimeter of the reflecting pools, which represent where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of the victims are engraved around the pool for people to leave flowers as the water cascades down into a deep hole that I am guessing leads to some part of the museum. The names of the victims who lost their lives in the Pentagon, the Pennsylvania flight, NYPD, FDNY, and 9/11 rescue workers, are also engraved on the edges of the pool along with those who lost their lives in the 1993 bombing.
The 9/11 Museum is located by the reflecting pools. There is a $24 admission fee, which bothered me a lot. Why must there be an admission fee for tourists to see what happened on that terrible day? I found it disrespectful, and to Gil and I, this seemed like the city was profiting off of a tragedy. I was 10 years old when the towers were knocked down. I almost lived it. There is no need for me to pay a fee just to relive it again.
We moved along to the North Pool and scanned the names. My dad lost his friend in the terrorist attacks. His name was Gilberto Ruiz. It took Gil and I two tries to find it, but there was his name on the perimeter of where the North Tower once stood. I smiled because I knew it would mean a lot to my dad seeing that his friend was remembered.
Walking around the memorial made me think about how awful that day was. There was so much chaos, fear, and death. Loved ones were lost and it took a long time for the city to get some sort of normal routine back on track. I don't think the city will ever recover from a blow like that. Construction is still going on, there is a lot more security, and the simplest things could be considered "suspicious".
We moved on to Battery Park through a long hallway. We enjoyed the scenery of the river and all the attractions it had to offer. From where we were seated, we had a nice view of Ellis Island, Governor's Island, the Statue of Liberty, parts of New Jersey, and a few bridges. Boats, ferries, kayaks, a cruise ship, and helicopters passed us by.
While staring at the water I realized that the city has gotten small for me. Even with the beautiful views, I saw myself following the river to a different place. Somewhere that is not so controlled and people are not in their personal bubbles rushing everywhere. Someday I will leave the city and find my own path of where I want to go. I believe exploring news places opens more opportunities for yourself, and I would love to be somewhere out of my comfort zone. Looks like I am ready to step outside the box.
Photos: Rosa Elena Burgos and Gilberto E. Burgos
Note: Construction is now complete at Ground Zero.
Last updated: July 14, 2019