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.

  • ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’
    ‘Conflict to affect economic growth, stability in SEA’

    Conflict in the South China Sea can affect economic growth and stability in Southeast Asia, New Zealand warned yesterday, amid China’s aggressive reclamation activities in disputed waters. New Zealand is marking its 40 th year of diplomatic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and hopes to intensify trade and other linkages with the 10-member grouping. ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China over the Spratly …

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. Pagdilao stressed that it has been more than a month since De Lima announced to the media that the DOJ would be …

  • APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism
    APEC meet in Bataan seen to boost tourism

    BALANGA CITY, Bataan – More than 2,000 delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and international media outfits are expected to enjoy the splendid coastline of Bagac town, which faces the West Philippine Sea, as they converge for a workshop in this province next month. …

  • DOST opens P54-M research facility
    DOST opens P54-M research facility

    A P54-million research and development facility of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was recently opened in Bicutan, Taguig for scientists and researchers to develop technology and techniques to allow Filipino fashion and clothing designers and manufacturers to produce more mainstream products from local, tropical fabrics like piña, banana and abaca. Science Secretary Mario Montejo said the Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is the DOST’s flagship effort at reviving …

  • DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights
    DFA worried about alleged violations of convicted Pinoys’ rights

    Philippine embassy officials in Doha have raised their concern with Qatari authorities over coercion and human rights violations in the alleged forcing of three Filipino workers convicted of spying to provide information and confess to the crime. Speaking to reporters, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Charles Jose yesterday said the embassy has raised the matter during several high-level meetings with Qatari officials and the national human rights committee in Qatar. “Our embassy …

  • US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl
    US affirms ‘ironclad’ promise to defend Phl

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington’s pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains “ironclad” and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief “reaffirmed” the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options