Ground Zero  

curious082385 32F
4230 posts
9/11/2006 2:06 pm

Last Read:
9/13/2006 12:18 am

Ground Zero

I thought about writing where I was when I heard or some poem or story of remembrance. But how do you really capture it in words? I thought about September 11th and what it meant to me, what my strongest, clearest memory of it was and I realized that it was not that day, but that it was the moments when I stood looking down on Ground Zero in early 2002. What I felt and what I saw. To live, to find something, anything beautiful and hopeful and bright from the tragedy and darkness......that is the greatest memorial we can give to them, the lost......the greatest tribute, the greatest honor....
Here it is, my memories, my best attempts to capture it....

The approach was a long walk down the sidewalk beside the old, tiny church that they had carried the wounded to. There was a tall fence that extended down the block, but unless you looked to the very top of it's rails you would never know that it was black iron. Teddy bears, flowers, candles and heavier mementos had been placed at the base of the fence. Pictures, poems, messages, flags, remembrance T-shirts, and posters covered every imaginable space on the fence, several layers deep.
"The children of Rosemont Elementary remember you..."
"Our prayers are with you..."
"Sep 11....We will not forget...."
"Our service in your memory.....The Soldiers of the 143rd..."

Poems written by those who had traveled here on pilgrimages of remembrance, grief and passion. Pictures of those lost. Written messages from family members and friends who had only empty graves to mourn beside and felt the presence of their lost one more strongly here then beside a headstone.
"Dearest Husband...."
"Daddy, I miss you...."
"To my sister...."

The trees of the churchyard block a direct view towards the site of the Towers, but if you look up, you know that there used to be a building there that would have shaded this street. Fingers trail across fireman's hats, police badges....the grief ran deep....but I didn't cry. Until I found a bulletin board, covered in missing posters and my heart twisted at the vain hope of families for a homecoming that will probably never happen.
"This is John, my husband. He was on the 97th floor, last seen wearing a black suit with a faintly striped red tie. Dark hair, blue eyes. Please contact us if you have any information."
"Please call if you have seen this women. Her name is....."
"Last seen..."

You stand back and look at this fence and wonder how many people have left something of themselves here, some message or mark of their passing. The enormity of the unity, love and compassion humbles and brings a fresh wash of tears. Here in the shadow of where the towers used to stood, on a nondescript iron is the true monument and testament to endurance and strength.

Thoughts whirl through your head as you finally turn the corner and step onto the wooden ramp that will take you up to the viewing platform over Ground Zero. The first thought is how vast the space is. We hear about how many city blocks the towers occupied, but the incredible amount of empty space they left behind in a city where every square inch is occupied is.....
Then you look to the buildings on either side, still closed for public use, still with broken windows.
On the skyscraper to the left, an image we have seen countless times becomes reality.
A huge American flag, colors spilling down the side of the building, rippling in the breeze, in sight of all those who work below to clear away the remains of the towers.
Still walking, the edge of the platform still in front of can't see Ground Zero yet. And then someone whispers, grabs your arm and points down at the boards you are walking on and you look down.
The entire floor, the railings, every square inch of the viewing platform is covered in written messages. Every where you look, every where you step.....the writings of faceless people who wrote in an effort to be there.
Then, as tears threaten again, you step forward and there it is.

Ground Zero.

A massive hole still filled in places with twisted metal and debris. There are the tiny figures of men and women still working to clear in all away. There is the ramp that you have seen so many times in pictures where they carried flag draped bodies and stretchers.

Nothing prepares you for the swift punch of emotion to your stomach, for the reality of where you are standing fully setting in, for the realization of the enormity of it all. No words can describe it. Every possible emotion....a terrible overwhelming grief that chokes you, hot rage that simmers through you, despair and helplessness. And as you fall to your knees, you look down at all those words written on the floorboards and back up at that flag and your heart swells until you think it will burst....with love, with pride, with courage and strength, with passion, with hope, with the shining connection that comes with knowing that you are feeling what everyone else has felt as they stand here on this platform.

I found a pen somewhere in my bag and found a somewhat empty place and struggled to capture what I felt in words. I can't explain why I or anyone else felt the need to write there. But you just had to. You stood there looking out and remembering, bearing silent witness...maybe it was an effort to not be silent, to become a part of it, needing some sort of connection. I have no memory of what I wrote. I know it was probably never read. But in that moment, it didn't matter.

Blindmelon0 37M
8 posts
9/11/2006 3:21 pm

A beautiful tribute, but could the best tribute of all possibly be an end to terrorism?

rm_smosmof2 69M
3240 posts
9/11/2006 4:54 pm

This is an expression of appreciation for a well written piece expressing a point of view I would never have thought to look for.

Thank you.

absolutelynormal 58F
6563 posts
9/11/2006 6:33 pm

As always a great post. You write so vividly, you really need to do this for a living. I am still in shock from it all. I cannot fathom the sheer hatred that it would take to do something like this. The people that did this were not soldiers but just normal (seemingly) people. I cannot imagine hating someone enough to do anything like this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us

toothysmile 52M
16517 posts
9/12/2006 9:03 am

it was afternoon here. i had just gotten home after a long business meeting. i wanted to watch a sports program on tv. it was interrupted by the unbelievable news that a plane crashed into one of the twin towers... reported as a freak accident. then the news of the second plane... i actually watched the entire thing on tv... how the news unfolded... how the first tower collapsed, then the second.

i was shocked. i still am. my little brother was living in new yourk at the time... i'll never forget that day.

rm_usmc050225 32M

9/12/2006 12:27 pm

You're always a pleasure to read. It makes me with I had your gift with words. The way you write is as if it were just a river that flowed out of you. It's so simple and so compelling.

tootsiedippin 54M/54F
1078 posts
9/12/2006 4:34 pm

I think you made your decision...

And beautifully BTW...


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