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Sunday, October 12, 2014

May We Never Forget

May We Never Forget

Tragedies require a heroic response. The September 11, 2003 attack on the World Trade Center massacred thousands of innocents and devastated Manhattan's skyline; it left a scar in our soul and in our beloved New York City.  Tragedy has been met heroically and respectfully with magnificent monuments, memorials, museums, and two majestic towers rising to fill the void of the Twin Towers' collapse.   

Where the towers once stood white flowers are laid and water fills holes like wells of tears continuously weeping at the memorial fountain. Freedom Tower is mirrored flawlessly by Tower 4. A brave and valiant response is expressed so we may never forget.


White Roses
Near the 911 Memorial old meets new, vintage New York with old brick and mortar Architecture gives way to steel and glass skyscrapers defining the urban landscape. 


Old Meets New
Tower 4 looming down from the sky looks over the the classic city.


Tower #4
Close to the epicenter a copper bas-relief shows firefighters battling calamity and catastrophic collapse. The plaque reads "May We Never Forget". We never will.


Freedom Tower
Freedom Tower pierces the sky with 1776 feet of construction proudly erected to a height symbolic of the year 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was written. By design it is mirrored on the smooth sky-blue glass wrapping Tower 4. The effect is unmistakable: Freedom Tower is replicated as a phantom on the glass, filling the void left by the Twin Towers.


Freedom Tower Reflection on Tower #4

The public space around the memorial is immaculately manicured lawns shaded by exuberant Callery Pear trees like the ones killed when the Twin Towers crashed. Only one tree survived and is aptly named The Survivor Tree, a miracle of resilience. It had been thought dead, yet through charred bark new growth sprung to life, powerfully symbolizing rebirth.


Manicured Landscape
New urban trees shelter those arriving to pay their respects while trying to make sense of an incomprehensible evil.


Callery Pear - The Survivor Tree
A serene entry sequence leads to the memorial building with its awe inspiring hall devoted to security. People are screened quickly and respectfully before descending into a larger subterranean space. The grand stair case holds a steady stream of visitors flowing past two steel column, relics of the original structure. These rusty behemoths are gently illuminated by the last natural light filtering through giant windows, standing steadfast in the first lower level.


Rusty Behemoths
Along the downward journey, tortured remnants of the terrible tragedy illuminate the human procession like Stations of the Cross at a Cathedral; enormous bits of wreckage perfectly illustrating the destruction's magnitude.

Contorted Structural Steel
 Gnarly, contorted structural steel sculptures; scarred concrete stairs once serving as the sole means of escaping the maelstrom; ripped turbines; a ravaged fire engine, torn, flattened, and defiled by fire; all poignant artifacts helping us remember.

Ravaged Fire Engine
Finally, at the lowest level is the museum proper. Here mysteries are explored, some are explained. Yet the unfathomable human cost remains a mystery; it is left to be experienced at a private and intimate level so that we may never forget.


Well of Tears




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