Tuesday, September 14, 2010

World Trade Center Beams - Dedication 9/13/2010

Yesterday, September 13th 2010 we were privileged to see and touch two beams from the World Trade Center.

This dedication took place in the town I was born in Vineland, NJ, USA in the Southern part of New Jersey. It was a very simple, respectful ceremony. A live history lesson for our 7 year old son and as my husband put it yesterday a humbling experience. I am having a hard time finding the words to describe these moments, it was a small town event and it was an intimate experience being so close and having such a long time to touch and view these beams. We are just ordinary citizens, I'm a wife, stay at home mom, homeschoolers and we were touching these beams that held up the Twin Towers.

Those words come to mind now as I sit here writing this but its so very hard to put those words together in sentences right now. I'm still...stunned...yes, stunned...we were sitting there for the formal presentation and dedication, the beams were draped in black and then they were there in front of us.
Blackened, melted, twisted, bent, scorched pieces of steel that had held up the towers, the towers we saw collapse, the lives that were destroyed around them. You can see the immense heat that was inflicted upon these beams and there is a boot-print on one, forever sealed into the beam. I choose to think of it as the boot-print of a rescue worker because the other option is just to terrible to think of and still be able to touch it.

As you view and touch the beams you feel the enormous horror that must have been experienced, we all saw the horror but to touch the steel and have the smell of it on your hand is a sensory overload. Overwhelming sadness creeps up on you, then a sudden flash of anger (yes, it was there) and then a stillness that I'm still feeling today. I've looked at some of the pictures we took and had taken, we are actually smiling in some, something that surprised me. Why, are we smiling?
Then, I realized why...the same reason's I typed above, we are ordinary Americans being given the chance to touch, feel, see and experience part of our history. A horrible part, but one that must be remembered...

The people that died that day, so many of them were just like us...ordinary Americans, just going about their day. These beams not only stand for those that died in New York but also for the Pentagon and for those ordinary Americans that died in a field in Pennsylvania who took matters into their own hands and must have said to themselves, "no one else will die if we can help it".
They took back some of our strength as a nation that day by fighting back...God bless their souls.
The strength we saw crumbling on our televisions.
They continued what the rescue workers had started, those brave souls that rushed to and into the buildings.
I don't know where they found the strength, whether it comes from knowing that nothing else can be done. When perhaps you can only go through it instead of...just letting it happen.

I think we smiled because we are proud.
Proud of the country we live in that gives us the chance to see and touch these pieces.
I'm grateful that decisions were made that beams are going to select places around our country, because it shows who we are as a nation. We all experienced that horrible day and while its part of our national history, its also part of our personal history, whether we knew someone that died that day or someone that went to help afterwards. It isn't just for politicians or whomever...its for all of us.

If you ever get the chance to go to a town, city, place that has these beams. Go and see them, they are supposed to be available to all citizens, so go and touch them. Let us not ever forget those that perished because we do them a disservice when we do forget.

The last two pictures are very important to me. The man on the right carrying the beam back into City Hall is someone I grew up with, even though we are not related he is my little brother as is his older brother, George. We fought and loved as all siblings do, our moms were best friends while we were growing up.
His name is Michael Deem, he wrote the plaque above and was responsible for the submission for these beams for the City of Vineland. He is also an EMT that responded on 9/12/2001 to New York City as part of the rescue and recovery. I don't need to say anything more about that, I'm sure all of you have filled in the blanks....but I have tears in my eyes....I love you little bro....you deserved the biggest applause yesterday and you got it from the crowd.

1 comment:

  1. I wish we could have made it. I tweeted about this...it's something everyone should read.