This sculpture sat just outside the World Trade Center before the attacks. What was salvaged was put on display here in Battery Park. It was sobering to see the painfully obvious damage inflicted to metal. Gashes, dents, and gaping holes covered the whole thing.
The afternoon lighting makes it difficult to see, but just in front of Andrew,  an eternal flame burns from the cement circle in the ground.

Later that afternoon, we arrived at Ground Zero. This is the fire station literally across the street.  

I'm bummed this picture is blurry, but here we are at a memorial stretching along one side of the building. 

I can't even describe my feelings upon seeing the actual spot this occurred. It made it too easy to visualize the devastation an attack like this would have on the surrounding city blocks and the hundreds and hundreds of people on the streets, in the subway, and in the buildings. It must have been truly horrifying...as we know it was. 

Standing there, the reality of it hit me like never before, and I was reliving newsflashes of hordes of people running for their lives through the streets of Manhattan. I spent the next hour with a lump in my throat.  

It was here, that we met this gentleman. Yes, he may have been a little eccentric, but I was very grateful we did. 

After learning these tourists were from Europe, he proceeded to pull out a tattered binder full of pictures that he used as visuals to eloquently and movingly recount the entire story of the attack...all from the perspective of a New Yorker. 
He directed his speech at the young boy in the blue hat there, because he especially wanted him to understand the significance of what had happened that day. 

After describing in great detail, the New Yorkers' reactions to the initial plane, how the falling towers destroyed surrounding skyscrapers, and the chaos that ensued as the people tried to escape, I started thinking that this was powerful stuff and I should be recording it! 
Sadly, this is the tiny bit that I was able to capture near the end. He went on to describe the future of Ground Zero after I stopped recording.

That skyscraper in the middle will be known as One World Trade Center. I believe it is only a little over half-way built up at this point. It is going to be HUGE. 

To be finished in 2015, it will be tagged as the tallest building in America at 1,776 feet.

As for the actual two sites of the towers, memorials were unveiled today that sit within the footprints left behind by the buildings. We were sad to have missed it by only a month. When we were there in August, it was all surrounded by fencing. 

The twin reflecting pools are about an acre big with the largest man made falls in the country (30ft) cascading down their perimeters.  Names of all those who lost their lives that day are inscribed along the edges.   

This picture lets you see both pools from above and the crowds gathered for the ceremony today. 

Each year, I teach my class a little bit about what happened that day. Of course, I don't want to traumatize the kiddos, but I think they need to understand the basics and what an impact it had on our country. I'm surprised each time, how little they actually know. 

It's hard to believe my third graders weren't even alive when September 11th happened! Crazy. And it was one of the most memorable days of my entire life...

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