Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Paying our respects at the Freedom Tower


Pools and names.

Pools and names.

There are no words adequate to describe the sheer size while looking up at the tower gleaming against the bright blue sky. No words to describe the deep emotion running through a crowd that stands mostly silent around the perimeter of the two pools ringed with names of the nearly three thousand that died.

Reflecting somber thoughts.

Reflecting somber thoughts.

No words.

Each day memorial staff place white roses in the names of those victims who would have been celebrating birthdays. Their lives are remembered by their families still and now complete strangers linger to gently touch the letters of the names cut into the smooth stone. Showing respect. Honoring.

Imported Photos 00562

Inside the museum our tour guide provides detailed history. She is careful of our feelings, telling us it’s a difficult story to hear, to have experienced, to remember.

Fire truck.  Cab is destroyed.  All died.

Fire truck. Cab is destroyed. All died.

She reminds us that there are those among us that were not yet alive on that day and that it is important to tell the story. To not forget. To pass the lessons on.

Part of the antenna from atop one of the towers.

Part of the antenna from atop one of the towers.

In the great hall there stands the last piece of formative steel to be removed from the site. Taped to it are pictures of some of those that died, put there by the construction crews and city employees working on the cleanup. A makeshift memorial captured and preserved forever.

Back wall is the original footings of the tower.  Last formative steel removed covered in heartfelt graffiti.

Back wall is the original footings of the tower. Last formative steel removed covered in heartfelt graffiti.

A long wall is covered in tiles, each of the 2,996 a different shade of blue, no two alike, because each of the 2,996 victims was unique. Blue, because the sky on September 11, 2001 was the wonderful clear blue of a perfect autumn day.

"No day shall erase you from the memory

“No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” -Virgil

There are things inside the museum that are hard to see but important to remember. There is a room with photos of each of the victims. Photos lined up, from floor to ceiling, row after row of faces smiling, eyes looking back, stories to be told, memories captured.


But our guide reminds us that this memorial wasn’t built with hate. It was built with love. And that coming to visit is an act of love and respect and honor.

Old and new  can exist together in harmony.

Old and new can exist together in harmony.

So we swallow our tears and we promise to pass the story on to the next generation in hope and peace.

Wings of hope.

Wings of hope.

And then we move out of the museum and back onto the streets of New York City under a brilliant blue sky.

Never forget.

Never forget.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

21 thoughts on “Paying our respects at the Freedom Tower

  1. You had a much better day for your visit. When we went in December, it was so foggy, we could only see up to about the 10th floor of freedom tower. I felt bad for the foreign tourists who had paid to take a trip up in the tower. I’m sure they couldn’t see a thing. At least we live close enough to go back anytime we want.

    I was amazed how different the atmosphere felt the minute we got off at that subway stop dowtown. A bit eery, but mostly a sense of peace and solemnity in an otherwise bustling city.


  2. And on that day we were forever changed.


  3. Wonderful tour of telling details that we don’t hear about in general articles on the place. Thank you. Starting to think about that day still sends a cold shock up my spine.


  4. Sadly too many people have forgotten – or at least chose not to remember 😦


  5. Beautiful. I forgot about the museum. It seems like it happened just yesterday
    Lily & Edward


  6. What a beautiful tribute to a day none of us will ever forget. To people who lost their lives in a horrific way. Sadly, it seems the years have passed and we’re no wiser…or at least, some of us aren’t.


    • We haven’t watched any news since we arrived on the 13th. But prior to that it was clear we are no wiser. And odds are when we get caught up on the news it will be the same.


  7. Thank you for sharing this. Your photos capture the mood. I live less than a 1/2 hour from the site, but have not been there yet. Maybe this summer.Your words are written so beautifully


  8. Tears just reading this. The football hero quarterback from my high school died in one of the towers. I didn’t know him personally, just knew of him. I haven’t been the memorial – thanks for showing us.


  9. Pingback: No new words | Change Is Hard

  10. Pingback: Chills | Change Is Hard

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience. I would have a hard time finding words too. Still do, 5 years later. xoxo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.