Families take back Ground Zero amid sunshine, shadows


NEW YORK -- Some arrived the night before, standing until dawn's early light. Others came in swarms at the end, up from the heavily secured subways to these sad, sacred acres.

Some were there to mourn what had been lost. Others came to represent what had been saved. Some came so they could remember what had happened 10 years ago. Others to find a bit more closure so maybe they could, at last, enjoy a measure of relief.

They came to the memorial service at Ground Zero here and heard a choir sing, two presidents speak, and six moments of silence pass.

Church bells rang throughout the city. The bagpipes of "Amazing Grace" whistled around corners. People even chanted "USA, USA."  They stayed and listened to the reading of 2,983 innocent names into the Manhattan morning, an act designed to both provide remembrance on an individual level and offer proof on a global one to all the despots that divide through denial.

"We've lived in sunshine and shadow," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. This day was to acknowledge both.

They came to look wide-eyed up at the surrounding canyons of steel and into the still gaping, reconstructed space where hell came to America like never before. One World Trade Center is being built, a museum is nearly done, yet it still feels empty.

[ Photos: Images of the memorial ceremony at Ground Zero ]

They came by the thousands even if they could barely see or hear the ceremonies, even as the warnings of more terrorists seeking to kill more Americans dominated discussion.

They refused to be deterred or distracted or driven away.

Parents came to remember lost children. Children came to remember lost parents. Others came to remember the sacrifice of all those strangers, the workers in the towers, the first responders who tried to save them, the passengers and crew members on the plane, even the soldiers who wound up fighting wars that essentially began right here.

They stood and prayed and acknowledged the moment the first tower was hit, then the second, then the Pentagon in Virginia and the field in Pennsylvania, then the collapsing of one building, then the next. Each moment seemingly more haunting than the last.

From sea to shining sea, the song goes, and here was this sea of shining people, American people, all races and creeds, all colors and classes, all ages and allegiances. Some with family ties that date back centuries and some who didn't even land on these great shores until Sept. 11, 2001, had already played out.

"The world stopped that day," said Johnny Frisk, who flew from Sweden, his first visit to the States, just to attend the service. "I felt it was important to be here, to show we're a family."

Here were fire and police teams from everywhere: Cleveland, Long Beach, Germany. They just showed up, without fanfare, black bands over badges because they couldn't imagine not. "I couldn't be here 10 years ago to help," offered J.R. Easton, a firefighter from Surrey, British Columbia.

This certainly isn't how anyone who took over a plane that day designed it.

[ Video: Behind-the-scenes with the memorial's architect ]

Here was the full spectrum of human emotions. Lines of the somber yet strong, patiently waiting through heavy security. Even soft laughter, at appropriate times.

Here were the families, arriving with little American flags and clutched pictures of their loved ones. Portraits, family poses, or just images of them in full form -- finishing marathons, beaming at weddings, one out on a fishing boat. They kept coming and coming, block after city block, from the shadows and into the morning sun.

Here was New York; here was America; here, indeed, was the world at its strongest, at its most unified, at its most respectful. Here was the best rising out of the worst, people showing strength by filling streets where ash once rained down.

Here was a chance to steal back something from this place, to make sure that for one morning at least the spot where their loved ones died was alive with the spirits of how they had lived.

"Never forget," it said on so many shirts.

And no one forgot. The politicians spoke with eloquence but it was the people who took the place back.

Share your 9/11 memories with us on Twitter - #911remembered

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options