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  • ryanknudson

Building a Memorial

It was October of 2018 when my wife, two eldest daughters and myself took a trip to New York City. We were all filled with excitement and a sense of adventure. With so many things to do and see we needed to really hone it down to the most essential on our list. While we did end up putting the M&M museum on our list (thanks Dad!), we had several others that really made our trip. Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, seeing ‘Wicked’ on Broadway all made this trip a memorable one, especially when they took me to Pucks for my birthday.


While we knew those sites would be full of wonder for us, nothing compared nor prepared us for the 9-11 Memorial. First we stood in line for about an hour but it was not wasted. Circling the bases where once stood the Twin Towers I know I began to remember that fateful day, when I was delivering newspapers in my car and the news broke in on the radio program I was listening to. My wife remembers waking up and hearing the news from her mom and then tuning in on a news broadcast. Now pools, the bases now stood as an amazing tribute, massive in size.


Upon entering the memorial you are greeted with twisted metal, charred remains, a part of an airplane engine, the crushed fire engine that was destroyed when the first tower fell. Descending further down you find more of the steel pillars that remain, bent in places, with names of recovery workers written on it. There are murals of the fire departments and other collages for remembrance as you walk along the basement floor of what used to be the towers. We all walked transfixed and in reverence. Yet nothing prepared us for the last room we went into.


As we entered into the room which memorialized the people who lost their lives, we first heard the video stories and then as we looked around the room, we saw every face of those that were killed during that attack. Benches lined each wall and we joined the mass of people watching and listening to the stories coming from the monitors. Never have I felt so humbled, so contemplative over how short life can be. All of us left the memorial with a gravity in our spirits. I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.


And so today, I urge you to take some time to remember those that have gone on before. Remember the good times, the bad times even, how you may have struggled but then came through with a deeper appreciation of them and life itself. Remember the laughs, the smiles, the way they made you feel and express your gratitude. Maybe write a letter to them today and thank them for how they have helped you become, even if they have passed on. It’s never too late to give thanks or reflect and learn.

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