This past Monday my daughter Tiffani and I
visited the 9/11 Memorial Site
in New York City.
The 9/11 Memorial features two enormous waterfalls
and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size,
set within the footprints
of the original twin towers.
The names inscribed on the North Pool
represent those who perished in the
World Trade Center North Tower,
those on Flight 11 and the six people
who died in the February 1993
attack on the World Trade Center.
The names inscribed on the South Pool
represent those who perished in the Pentagon
and on Flights 175, 77 & 93.
Also represented on the South Pool are
all of the first responders who gave their lives
helping others in the 9/11 tragedy.
All of the names were void of decoration
except for one flower, a beautiful calla lily,
placed within the name David S. Lee.
Calla lilies symbolize being somber and grave.
The lone flower sent the simple
yet profound message
that someone who once loved him
will never forget.
On the day before the 11th anniversary of 9/11,
the mood at the Memorial Site was sober.
Some people seemed very reflective,
some were incredibly sad.
We were surrounded by hundreds
of other people but I don't remember
hearing anyone speak.
Amongst the sadness, we saw reminders of hope,
like the "Survivor Tree".
This pear tree became known
as the "Survivor Tree" after sustaining
extensive damage, but living through
the September 11 attacks.
In October 2001, this tree with it's
lifeless limbs, snapped roots and blackened trunk
was discovered and freed
from the piles of smoldering rubble
in the plaza of the World Trade Center.
After leaving the Memorial we went to
the 9/11 Visitor's Center.
We started to watch a video
about the 9/11 victims and survivors.
Tiffani decided to walk away but I chose to stay,
tears rolling down my face.
A young man who lost his mom on 9/11
was being interviewed.
He talked about how badly
his heart still hurts and how much
he misses her every single day.
He will never forget.
Those of us who were not directly affected
by the tragedy on 9/11
don't have that same ache in our hearts.
Yet still, we will never forget.