Tribute in Light, 9-11-11. Photo by David Shankbone.

Tribute in Light, 9-11-11. Photo by David Shankbone.

Last weekend, my daughter travelled to New York City on a business trip. With my wife and my daughter’s co-worker, we visited the new 9/11 Memorial.

I guess that everyone who goes there will come away with different thoughts. This is my attempt to put down a few of my own.

We were there between 10:30 am and 11:30 am. There were already a lot of visitors but the first thought that I had was, what a peaceful place this is. If visitors were talking, they were speaking softly. I felt as if I were in a place of worship. Actually, I was.

We spent most of our time at the Tower Two Memorial. I thought it was fitting that we do so. I am not a relative or a close friend of anyone who perished on that most horrific day of my lifetime, but three of the four people who I knew and who died that day have their names etched in bronze there.

Tower Two is also where I met a good friend of mine. We worked together for many years and we still collaborate on an issue or two. We watched each other’s children grow up. We supported each other through our separate divorces and we celebrated at each other’s subsequent marriages.

Tower Two was the location of a number of New York State offices where I attended many disability advocacy meetings. My good friend mentioned above was there for our most memorable discussion in the early 1980s with former New York State Governor Mario M. Cuomo.

Always in the air at each of the footprints of the Twin Towers is the constant sound of the waterfalls. To me, they are calming and peaceful, in vivid contrast to the breadth of business and government activity that once took place there, and that will soon return in the buildings under construction.

On our way to Tower One, we stopped at the Survivor Pear Tree that was found still standing among the lost souls and the debris. It is amazing to see the stark contrast between the old bark and the new growth. That tree is as solid as the United States of America.

As we approached Tower One, I noticed a member of our military for the first time during our visit. I wasn’t particularly looking for military personnel. It reminded me that American troops have been killed and wounded because of the war declared on America on September 11, 2001. I thought too about our veterans, their families and survivors.

We can never forget what happened that day ten years ago. I thought as we left the 9/11 Memorial, we must continue to pray, each in his own way, for the innocent people who we lost that day and for our military personnel who continue the battle to keep our country free.

Terry Moakley
Chair of the VetsFirst Committee