08:24 “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be O.K”
08:46 Flight 11 crashes into WTC North Tower
09:03 Flight 175 crashes into WTC South Tower
It was 2001 and I had been to America for the first time that Spring with my family. Months later at the beginning of the school term my mum walked me home from school as usual and as we were about to cross Witham Road she told me that something horrible had happened and then said that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centers in New York. I was eight and although I was a naive little girl, like everyone else, I didn’t know that such evil could exist in the world. Over 3,000 people died that day. Anyone who was alive and can recall the day will remember the images, the footage and how that day changed so many people’s perceptions of the world.
It is 2012, nearly eleven years on from the terrorist attacks and I have just come home from New York City. A magical city though it is, downtown is now home to the 9/11 Memorial Ponds where memories of that day hang.
It’s a beautiful memorial: there are two ponds: one where each tower stood and are the same scale of the floor size; this way the towers can never be replaced or forgotten just as none of the innocent lives should be forgotten. The names are engraved on black panels that go round the ponds. I spent time, although not knowing anyone involved, touching the names: I felt this way that maybe relative could feel that they could physically feel their loved ones’ presence as they have their own place, their own mark, in this now very sombre park. The ponds are very deep, possibly about 20m deep where water flows down; some say that this is to do with tears, but I thought it was more to cleans what evil actions were made that day. In the centre of the pond is another level where the water makes its way; no-one can see the bottom. I liked this because I thought that it paid tribute to those in the basements, but at the same time metaphorically suggesting how there is no end: no end to the searching, the grief and there is no possible way that this will be forgotten.
The sound of the water flowing down in the ponds is, what I imagine, a complete contrast to the sirens, screams and explosions from September 11th which highlights how the victims are at rest. I was with my mother when I was experiencing and reflecting around the ponds and she thought that the water was a nice way to honour the firefighters who put their lives at risk.
The new World Trade Centers are currently under construction and are made of glass which surround the garden: around 5pm the sun was reflected into the area so beautifully. Shining a light somewhere where terror was the epicentre.
I was emotionally overwhelmed by such a lovely dedication to civilians. Yet there is this overarching feeling that it shouldn’t be there. There shouldn’t be security checks to get there and we should not refer to 9/11 in such a tragic sense.
If I visited New York and 9/11 hadn’t happened I would probably have stood next to the towers and looked up at them, in awe of their height over the New York skyline. So, when I stood next to the ponds I did the same, and took a photograph as a dedication to the lives lost.
I wanted to take something from this photographically, but I didn’t want to be cliched to the extent that I would offend; I, like all, wished it never happened.
(Left: North Tower, Right: South Tower)
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