In case you've never been to ground zero...let me tell you!

Friday, September 11, 2009 Aimee Larsen 2 Comments

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When my husband and I visit NYC, July 4th weekend of 2003, it had not yet been two years since 9/11/01.  We walked and walked and walked the city streets and our feet only tread on a small amount of that beautiful city.  We went to the Empire State building our first day there and listened into headphones as a mechanical voice explained the city in part, in sections.  So, our next mission was to head on a journey.  First we went to China Town, from the Empire State building.  Walking down the streets carrying a very small child on our backs.  We crossed over and walked to the Finical District, rested in the park and took the whole city in.  You feel as if you are alive in that city, that the city itself has a heartbeat.  I was in awe of every majestic thing.  From the tall, shiny buildings to the beautiful courtyards that greeted us on our journey.  
Then we came to the above building.  An old church surrounded by an iron was open.  A donation box outside.  We dropped in our contribution and went in to discover that the church was not only a sanctuary but it was a very vivid reminder of what happened 8 years ago today.  Faces of rescue works and city people, beds they slept in, many artifacts from less than 2 years earlier.  We wished that it wasn't so, that this memorial and monument to those people didn't have to be there.
It was!
The amazing story about that church is that it was next to ground zero...right at it's feet and it did not, DID NOT suffer damage.  It was a blessed place and is still.
We walked down this street towards the building with the star.  What struck me as being absolutely stunning on so many levels, was that the old thick class in this building looked like it was riddled with bullet holes.  They weren't bullet holes.  The taller buildings next to it were shrouded with fabric.  Where so much fabric came from I don't know, but I'll never forget their shrouds.  
These buildings as well were covered, some seemed untouched, others seemed to have suffered with the hearts of our country.  The shrouds they wore, reminded me of when we used to wear black coverings at funerals.  It was something to behold.
And the city moves on!
The hurt you feel when you visit is much like the way you felt the day this happened.  I choked.  My chest was heavy, my heart was hurting.  All those names, all of them was a person...a person like me and you, with a life and people that loved them.
When we visited, we had this feeling of nervousness...I kept thinking July 4th would be another day that terrorist would target.  Cops were everywhere gearing up security for the celebrations.  Helicopters were common.  We waited and waited and waited for the fireworks.  We gave up (little did we know the whole city was party that was being televised), we were just on a schedule.  As we were walking back to our room down the beautiful streets, we turned around with Cooper in our arms and watched the sky light up in celebration of our Freedom and Independence!  Growing up, I had invisioned NYC as being a terribly dangerous place, that night, there was no fear.  People just like me and you were sitting on their apartment steps, standing in the streets, picking up pizza, riding their bikes.  The street lights gave the city a glow I'll never forget and I felt peace.
I felt joy! It really was something to be in that city just as it was beginning to breath again and it felt like the whole city took a deep breath and let it out.  The music in the air was uplifting.  The trees dancing in the wind over the street lights where absolutley beautiful.
If you've never visited NYC!  Do!
The city is amazing, it's magical.
I always said I'd move there if given the chance.
Then we'd have to miss our mountains and rivers and backyards.
But it is magical!
I pray that our world finds peace so that we may enjoy ALL of it's treasures together!


  1. wow, what a great experience- though sad. I am looking forward to the day I get to visit NYC!

  2. Hubby used to work a couple of blocks from the WTC and we'd meet up and go to the top of one of the towers once or twice a month on a date. We moved from NYC in 1994 but went back May 2002. The tears in his eyes as we took the Staten Island Ferry to downtown were heartbreaking. The skyline he saw everyday for 8 years had been forever changed and there was such a hole in his heart and the city.
    We are heading back to NYC this Oct. anxious to see what changes have been brought about in that area.
    The church you mentioned is one he would go to at least once a week to just sit and pray in. It's always open and was a great refuge the day of the attacks.
    I enjoyed reading your memories of your visit.


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