All-Star Game at Washington

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Sad and Somber Remembrance

For the fifth consecutive September 11th, I spent a sad and somber day at the site that the World Trade Center was built on, now known to the world as Ground Zero. I was there yesterday with thousands of others who lost someone they loved. I was there with my friend Deborah, as every year it is an obligation for us to remember our beloved friend Joyce.

We met up at Liberty Plaza just after 7 AM and proceeded to Barclay and Church Streets to enter the site. As we reached it, a reporter from Eyewitness News came up to us and asked a few questions about us and why were there. We talked about being there for Joyce, that we had no other place to grieve for her and she was one of those poor souls who was never found, and that we had to be there on this day.

Getting in was much better organized than in past years, but we both noticed that neither of us were searched after it was determined we were family members. It would have been easy to pose as one, and then sneak something deadly in. As soon as we entered the site, I noticed a cadre of photographers behind and above us. I was carrying a framed picture of Joyce, and as soon as I looked up at them, I saw about 5 or 6 photographers with their cameras on me. (One even came up to me and asked me for some personal info, but as of now, I haven't seen it online in his paper yet.)

There were moments of silence at 8:46, 9:03, 9:59 and 10:29, for the times the towers were hit, and fell. In the silence, I could hear church bells in the area ringing. The reading of the names was very sad, as partners of the lost did the readings this year. At 9:15, Joyce's name was read and I lifted her picture over my head, and I hugged Deborah, and there were a few tears between us.

A little while after that, we walked through the crowd to get to the ramp in order for us to go down into the pit of the site. I was holding the photo in front of me, and it seemed like everyone I passed had their eyes glued to it. It's a truly beautiful picture of Joyce. At the ramp, I got four red roses to bring with me and we descended into the site. There were thousands of people there, even more than last year. (I believe it is because this maybe the final time we will be able to do this, as the construction at the site will soon accelerate.)

There were two pools at opposite ends, and loved ones left roses, flowers, messages, and many other mementoes in them. We spent about one hour total walking around and we met a few people we knew. We left the site around 11:30 AM and proceeded to the Marriott Hotel on West Street, but not before we were stopped by a reporter from the Associated Press who asked us about being down at Ground Zero. I explained how we needed to be there and it was a holy and sacred place.

We went to a luncheon hosted by the Voices of September 11th, which was very nice and featured some terrific opera singers from Connecticut. Afterwards, we went to The Tribute Center, which is next to the firehouse on Liberty Street. It is a beautiful place that tells the story of the history of the WTC and features photos of all the 9/11 victims, including a picture of Joyce that Deborah and I had sent in. (It will be open to the public next Monday.)

We spent the remainder of the day in Lower Manhattan, having dinner and recalling our late friend. At sunset, after an absolutely exhausting and emotional day, we saw "The Tribute in Light" soar above downtown Manhattan. It was simply awesome, and it seemed to stretch directly up to Heaven.

I was totally drained when I got home, and did my best to relax and get my mind off the day (and saw the Vikings win!). But that was nearly impossible. I got a number of emails and comments from my post about Joyce, and a column I wrote about the fifth anniversary of 9/11 at I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all of your beautiful comments and wonderful support on what was a very, very difficult day.

It was very difficult and very emotional, but I had to be at Ground Zero yesterday. And I'm glad I was.


Suldog said...

God's peace to you and yours, Q.

Michael Leggett said...

I feel as if I knew Joyce:


The Omnipotent Q said...

Thank you so much, Suldog and Michael, for the very kind thoughts. They are both very much appreciated by me.