It was a sad and somber day yesterday as I went down to bedrock along with nearly 5,000 other people to remember the 9/11 victims yesterday. It was seventh and last time that we will be able to descend down to the bedrock of the World Trade Center site, as the pressure is now on to get the site's construction moving to an eventual completion.
It was a terribly emotional day, as it always is. The turnout this year was about doubled from last year, as the weather was much better, and the finality of walking on hallowed ground brought more loved ones out. The emotions weren't as raw as past years. I got down to the site with my friend Deborah at 7 AM. The names were read this year by family members who were paired with NYC students from the 90 countries who lost people at the WTC. My friend Joyce's name was read at about 9:15 AM, and that was very emotional for us.
We descended into the site at about 11 AM, and we laid roses in a circle at the north end of the site (pictured), and stayed there about 30 minutes. It's still so surreal being in the middle of the spot where the worst tragedy in American history took place.
After we left the site, we met up with Keith of ArtAid, whose done some great work remembering the 9/11 victims with his great murals with the victims names on it. We signed one of his newest creations. We then went to a restaurant called Southwest NY, which is in the World Financial Center, across from the site. Every year they do a complimentary buffet for all the family members and it was really good. We met owner Richard Cohen and he was very gracious and we thanked him.
We concluded the day by going to Battery Park, and we signed the beam that will be part of the 9/11 National Memorial and Museum, and we also planted a flag with all the 9/11 victims names on it in the park in honor of Joyce. There were hundreds of flags flying there and it was quite a stirring sight. They were put up by a group called New York City 9/11 Memorial Field, and they've done some great work also.
As I was going to bed last night, I could see the beautiful "Tribute in Light", the two blue lights in the sky from Lower Manhattan that are turned on every September 11th evening, from my house, nine miles from the WTC site.
It was another emotionally draining day, and as I write this I'm still a bit tired. But September 11th will always be a very somber and reflective day for me, to remember my lost friend and the thousands who also lost their lives on the worst day in our history. I'll always be at the site, whatever is there, every September 11 for the rest of my life. I owe it to the victims, and especially Joyce, to be there.