Nine, Eleven. Utter those words and everyone knows exactly what you mean. There’s no discrepancy. No mistake. The rest of the date is irrelevant because the events of that day are burnt indelibly into our collective memory.
Nine, Eleven. I can think of no other date in history that’s referred to in the same manner; whose numbers are steeped in so much meaning.
What happened that day unites us because we all remember exactly where we were. Now, eleven years later I find myself exactly there, working in Manhattan, mere blocks away from the old world trade center site and the location of the Freedom Tower.
Each year, in memory of those who died in the attacks, New York City sends two beams of light skyward from the footprints of the twin towers. It is a beautiful, yet sad and sobering sight. Tonight I took a moment to go up on the roof and take some photographs.
I’ve been to many monuments in my lifetime and of them all, I think this is the most fitting tribute. It is so understated, so muted, so perfect in the stark and vivid contrast it provides to the horror and violence it serves to remember. The pillars of light provide a moment of peace in an otherwise busy metropolis. A peace that we would wish upon the souls of all those who lost their lives that day. And despite the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets, the two white shards just stand there, silent sentinels to the memory of the fallen. Because we can never forget them.