The Empty Sky After 9/11

Flags fly at Liberty State Park.
Flags fly at Liberty State Park.

One of my favorite places to bike is along the promenade in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Across the Hudson River, bikers, walkers, fishermen and picnickers get an amazing view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. I’d been there many times, but hadn’t seen the Empty Sky memorial, dedicated on September 10, 2011, until last weekend.

Each of the memorial’s walls is 210 feet long, the width of each side of the former World Trade Center Towers. Their height reflects the proportion of the former buildings as if they were lying on their sides. The names of the 749 victims from New Jersey are engraved into the twin walls.  “The walls channel visitors to the location in the Manhattan skyline where the former World Trade Center towers once stood.”

Inscribed on the twin walls are these words:

“On the morning of September 11th, 2001, with the skies so clear that the Twin Towers across the river appeared to be within reach, the very essence of what our country stands for – freedom, tolerance and the pursuit of happiness – was attacked. This memorial is dedicated to New Jersey’s 749 innocent loved ones who were violently and senselessly murdered that day at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA.

Let this memorial reflect the legacies of those whose lives were lost, that their unfulfilled dreams and hopes may result in a better future for society. Their unique qualities and characteristics enriched our lives immeasurably and through this memorial, their stories live on.”

Empty Air memorial bisected by a steel beam.
Empty Air memorial bisected by a steel beam.
Steel and concrete.
Bent steel and broken concrete.
Reflection.
Reflection.

 

Father and son.
Father and son.
The Freedom Tower.
The Freedom Tower.
Sun saturated hibiscus.
Sun saturated hibiscus facing Lower Manhattan.

9/11: Horror and Homework

Liberty State Park, NJ
Liberty State Park, NJ
Liberation Monument by Natan Rappaport
Liberation Monument by Natan Rappaport, Liberty State Park, NJ

My daughter came home with an assignment to interview a parent about 9/11.

Anyone not comfortable with the assignment could pass.  Lucky for me that, although the subject gives me a lump in my throat and makes my heart race, I didn’t have to pass.

I give my daughter’s middle school teacher credit for opening up a discussion on a touchy subject and allowing her to turn over in her mind what happened right here

in the city where her father worked,

where her aunt witnessed the horror as it happened,

where her sisters’ friend’s father was killed,

where her yoga teacher’s brother-in-law was killed,

where a neighbor’s husband was killed,

where longtime customers of the store her mother worked at shopped for funeral clothes,

and what the catalyst was that created a desire in her 7 year-old brother to join the Army,

when she was only 3 months old, new to the world, and her mother wondered how she would raise a baby with so much hatred in the world, and her mother worried that life as she knew it might never be the same.

Some of the teacher’s thought-provoking questions are:

1.  Why do you think the terrorists chose the World Trade Center?

2.  If it were up to you, would you have the towers rebuilt?

3.  Have the events that took place on 9/11 changed your life?  How so?

4.  During the months immediately following the attacks, a lot of people sported American flags on their cars, t-shirts and houses.  Why do you think that it takes an act of terrorism to bring a country together?  Why aren’t we united and patriotic like this all of the time?

I’d love to hear your answers to any or all of the questions.

Flag of Honor
Flag of Honor

IMG_1587

My son and me at an ROTC dinner.
My son and me at an ROTC dinner.
Proud Dad and sister flank our Army cadet.
Proud Dad and sister flank our Army cadet.

Fluffy Father’s Day

Know my full name?  It's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
Hi!  I’m Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

Guess what?  I’m the Guest Blogger today.  Me!  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!  You can call me Lucy for short.

I had the best day on Father’s Day!  My sisters invited me to hop in the car after they packed up bikes, blankets and food.  I didn’t know where we were going but I knew it would be fun.  Yippee!  I love cars!

We went to Liberty State Park.  It’s a big park on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.  It was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.  I could even see the Freedom Tower.

Here’s my day in pictures.

I jumped up on a ledge to get a better view of the river.  The Freedom Tower is in the background.
I jumped up on a ledge to get a better view of the river. The Freedom Tower is in the background.
I love to be picked up.
I love to be picked up.
seeking shade under a bike
seeking shade under a bike
picnicking with my family
picnicking with my family
Do you like my personalized water bowl?
Do you like my personalized water bowl?
"C'mon!  Let's go in the water!"
“C’mon! Let’s go in the water!”
Jumped in the water!
Jumped in the water!
Sooo tired on the ride home!
Sooo tired on the ride home!

What a great day!  You know what else?  Yesterday was my 2nd birthday.

Happy birthday to me!  Woof!

That's me yesterday, on my 2nd birthday.  (taken by my redheaded sister)
My redheaded sister took my birthday photo. Then she gave me a Happy Birthday biscuit. Yum!

NYC State of Mind

Woohoo–I just learned how to create an IMovie!  At first, I wanted to share my photos of The High Line,  an aerial greenway created on a section of the former New York Central Railroad located in Chelsea.  http://www.thehighline.org  Then I added more of my New York City photos and soon I had a 3 minute 32 second slide show set to one of my favorite songs.  The High Line is featured first, followed by Times Square, celebrity sightings, Lincoln Center, Big Bambu and Jeff Koons sculptures on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden, Central Park, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Yankee Stadium, Rockefeller Center, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, the Statue of Liberty and a view of Lady Liberty from Liberty State Park.  Hon, I can’t take credit for the pics of Yankee Stadium (and son) or the ones with me in them, but the rest are mine.  Enjoy!