I was in Murray, Iowa performing a soil and groundwater investigation on that fateful day. The subcontractor that I was working with told me that something big was going on and it was all over the radio news. I got in the work truck, turned on the radio, and listened in disbelief. It seemed as though there must be some mistake, or maybe it was even a sick joke. But it wasn't. Terrorists had struck at what they thought was the heart of America.
Thousands of innocent lives were lost that day. I remember driving back home, traveling south on Interstate 35, listening to the news coverage of the worst terrorist attack on US soil. The video footage that was played over and over later that night of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers was so haunting. Something to never be forgotten. At least one would think not.
A trip to New York City just wouldn't seem complete without a visit to the memorial that pays tribute to all that lost so much on that day. Walking around the former building footprints, which have been transformed into reflecting pools, was a humbling experience. Water continuously flows and falls into the voids that were left behind by the senseless violence. Bronze parapets surrounding each of the pools contains the names of all those whose lives ended way too soon. Tokens of remembrance are left behind by many of the names on those walls. Whether by family members or complete strangers, I do not know, but it is evident that some have not forgotten.
The Bell of Hope was presented by England to the people of New York on the one year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The bell is rung every September 11. It has also rang to pay tribute to victims of other terrorist attacks around the world and at home. The ringing has been heard far too frequently of late.
Construction of the One World Trade Center began on April 27, 2006. The building was completed in July 2013 and now stands as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth tallest in the world. The building towers high into the sky (and sometimes into the clouds) as a symbol of the enduring freedoms of this great country, reaching ever higher in spite of adversity. You see, they only think that they struck at the heart of America. Regardless of what some may want to believe, our heart lies much much deeper than that.