Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reflecting Absence @ WTC 9/11 Memorial

I didn't really want to see it. Having been in NYC and seen it all on that fateful, crystal clear blue morning of 9/11/2001, I hate its legacy. The destruction and loss of life wrought on that day brought about only more destruction and loss of life. Not to mention bringing about patronizing color-coded "terrorist alerts", or the hassle of taking your shoes off at airport security. It felt like humanity learned not to move forward, but how to regress in fear. Then there were families of the victims who stalled progress on rebuilding plans, insistent upon making lower Manhattan into a graveyard.

Annoyed and over it - that was my frame of mind as I begrudgingly, almost dutifully, marched myself downtown to see what all the new fuss was about. I signed up at the visitors center and at the appointed hour shuffled past through more security checkpoints than I've ever witnessed in my life to the tribute created in the footprints of the two WTC towers. They named it "Reflecting Absence".
Engraved around the rim are the names of all those lost, all those same names I saw in the days after the towers fell - accompanied by photos on hastily scrawled "missing" posters from Union Square to Grand Central. Beneath the names, waterfalls cascade over steely gray edges and further down into a bottomless square chasm. Its power is both prehistoric and futuristic. Timeless. 
I found myself unexpectedly moved by its beauty; unprepared for the profundity of its effect.

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