I don’t think the anniversary of 9/11 should feel like a storm brewing. Unfortunately, on this eve of the 9th anniversary, that’s exactly what it feels like. I suppose it has something to do with this being my first 9/11 in this area, about 25 minutes from where the World Trade Centers fell. The drama of the proposed Islamic Center and Koran burning has taken over not only the national news, but every local TV and radio station as well. The wind has picked up outside. The trees are swaying uneasily in the gray, cloudy sky as we brace ourselves for the chaos, protests, and rallies that will surely ensue tomorrow on the sacred ground where so many people lost their lives.
It has become the “where were you” question of my generation. I was asleep. A freshman at UNL, my classes that day didn’t start until 11 so I slept late when my dad abruptly woke me and told me to watch the news. Against my parent’s wishes, I went to class that morning on the city bus. Of course, no one could concentrate on anything. One of my professors even broke down in tears mid-lecture. It was surreal, unbelievable, unthinkable, yet it happened. And here, the memories of that day are all too fresh and painful. My neighbor still has respiratory problems after going into the city days after the attack. I’ve heard stories of how the dust, rubble, and smell made its way across the Hudson and settled dozens of miles out.
And sadly, the memory of those lost is being overshadowed by drama, controversy, and division. Tomorrow, perhaps I would have taken the bus to Ground Zero to pensively remember that day. But I only feel disgust because I know that 2 groups have scheduled protests, and a “Christian” preacher has threatened to, in terrorist like fashion, portray hypocrisy, disrespect, and hate that would surely break Jesus’s heart. The NYPD will be there, on full alert, not because of the threat of outside terrorist, but because of the predicted local dispute that may escalate to danger or violence.
Since I won’t visit in person tomorrow, I decided to do a little research on the progress of the memorial’s construction site. I’ve walked by the gaping hole in lower Manhattan often enough, but haven’t really learned the details of the future building. It will actually be one large building, rather than two towers, and when finished, will be the tallest building in America. A park will be adjacent to the One World Trade Center, where the largest man-made waterfall will be constructed along with a 9/11 museum. And below, will be one enormous transportation hub, connecting subways, trains, and ferries. As for the progress of construction, workers say they complete one floor of the One World Trade Center every 7 to 8 days, and right now they have roughly 30 floors complete.
This information encourages me and makes me optimistic in light of the gathering storm I fear will blow tomorrow. Although the process takes time and encounters many obstacles, it’s getting there. And when complete, it will be stronger and more beautiful than ever. Symbolic in so many ways. I encourage everyone to think about that tomorrow.
Take a moment to watch this video about the details of the One World Trade Center and memorial construction project.
NYC skyline when the One World Trade Center is complete