Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lest We Forget...

My initial visit to New York back in September 2000, involved a day atop the World Trade Center. My mate, who was on designated video camera duty, took well over 30 minutes of footage containing stunning rooftop/sky line views (infinite visibility on this particular day) and various shots of the lobby area. Now if anyone had approached me to say that in exactly one year the entire area would be reduced to rubble within a few short hours, I would never have believed them. Not in a million years.

My only real regret on my visit was that I never stopped to appreciate the actual building itself. It was always, to me, a means by which to reach the highest point of the city and nothing more. Now, looking back at the video footage I lament on what I should have been doing rather than what I did. Sadly, I never took any photographs of the area either, but at least I have the video.

Four years later, Mrs H and I booked a last minute flight to New York. I made sure that we would be there for September 11th as I wanted to attend the memorial ceremony to pay my respects and achieve some sort of closure. Nothing could prepare me for that moment when I turned the corner...

Everything I had ever remembered about this particular place were gone. I simply didn't recognise it anymore. Buildings that had once been dwarfed by the twin towers were now on full view as though they had been given a new lease of life.

As we have all no doubt seen on the news each year, loud speakers are erected amidst whilst the names of the people lost to the tragedy are read out by loved ones. We both stood amongst a crowd of what I assumed to be all tourists, but soon discovered that they were interspersed with American citizens who had come to share their grief in a show of international support.

One image etched in my mind was the sight of an American who, totally overcome, just broke down and collapsed on his knees. Suddenly he was surrounded by a small group of fellow UK tourists. They gently coaxed and lifted him to his feet. Then each in turn, embraced him with a warm safe hug.

Mrs H held my hand and we wept.
I felt his pain.
Mrs H felt his pain.
We all felt his pain...


Post a Comment

<< Home