NEW YORK-The Empire State Building. Yankee Stadium. The Statue
of Liberty. Ground Zero.
It has become a must-see on any New York tourist’s list, and
being a New York tourist myself over the weekend I went to see
I have to admit that I am a little skeptical about memorials
like the one at Ground Zero. It has always seemed to me like a bad
idea to dwell on terrible things that happened in the past. Before
this weekend, it struck as slightly over-dramatic and something
that could only cause more pain.
As I stepped out of the subway terminal onto the street I didn’t
have to check a map, or ask where to go. Even though I couldn’t see
Ground Zero I could feel where it was.
When you are in New York City you are constantly surrounded; by
people, by noise, by tall buildings, but when you are close to the
former site of the World Trade Center towers you can feel the hole.
Not just the massive hole left in the ground, which there is, but a
hole in the city itself.
I walked around the site and I was surprised by how much emotion
I felt. To see the site where Sept. 11, 2001, happened and to
imagine how it must have been is mind-blowing and it converted me.
I am now a believer in memorials, some at least. Nothing, not
stories or pictures or television specials, could be more powerful
than looking down into that pit and seeing grass growing out of
what used to be the foundation of one of the Twin Towers.
The people of New York have moved on. Hundreds of them walk by
that hole every day on their way to work, in their business suits,
carrying briefcases, not even stopping to look. For them it has
become just another part of their daily commute. But the memorial
isn’t really for them- they experienced Sept. 11, 2001,
The memorial is for people like me- people who can’t truly
understand until they see.