This Land is Your Land

Today is a very sad day in American history. Thirteen years ago, on this day, two planes were hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and the fourth, intended to hit the White House, crash landed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania when the plane’s passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. Over 3,000 people lost their lives that day, from plane passengers to workers in the buildings to fireman attempting to rescue those inside.

I may have barely been six years old, but I remember coming home and gluing myself to the TV screen, watching the news reports.

article-2201409-14F298CC000005DC-887_964x607When I visited New York City this past February, I had the privilege of seeing the 9/11 Memorial. In the places of the two buildings, there are massive pools with waterfalls. Around the edge of each is a bronze plate with all the names of the deceased from that building. There is also a museum all about the attacks; there is a firetruck and rubble from the wreckage. This museum was not open when I was there, but my little sister was able to go inside on her stop in the city during her five-week cross-country road trip.

IMG_1838

This is two of my friends and me in front of one of the pools. The museum is in that reflective, boxy building behind us. The waterfall was not working at this pool, so I was allowed to see everything when it was dry. As you can see it was really cold, too! Nineteen degrees, but with the wind chill, it was about seven. Coming from Southern California, it was a big change.IMG_1836This waterfall was working and it was beautiful. In this picture, you can see better the names engraved on the plaque. It goes all the way around the pool and is separated into departments in the building and the fire teams that went into each. Some of the names had flowers stuck in them by loved ones. It was really touching to see.

IMG_1802Because I can’t say no to taking a panoramic of something so beautiful and meaningful. I can’t believe I stood where the buildings used to be.

IMG_1826This is a picture of us with the Survivor Tree. It is named as such because it was discovered six weeks after the attacks, under tons of debris, and it was still alive. It was taken to a nursery, where it healed and grew. Then they transported it back to the location and planted it among the other trees at the memorial. It is a different tree than all the others, and has a slightly different blooming pattern. It was truly a sight to see.

Since the attacks they have built a brand new building next to the memorial called the Freedom Tower. It does not look like the old buildings, but newer and more modern. Not going to lie, it is not my favorite looking thing, but it is still pretty cool.

IMG_1820It is taller than the old buildings and is actually the tallest building in the city, surpassing the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building.

IMG_1851I know this picture isn’t that great, but it’s the only one I got of the skyline. I took this from the Newark airport in New Jersey the day we left. That skyscraper that is taller than all the rest? Yeah, that is the Freedom Tower. Told you it was huge.

As you can see, this event rocked this country in a massive way. I thank the Lord every day that I was not personally affected, but I also pray every day for those who were. Our country has come back stronger from this. We will never forget what happened in New York City that day.

Be thankful for everything you have, and never take it for granted.

-A

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