A few weeks ago, when I traveled to Connecticut from my home in Texas to visit my dad for the holidays, my family and I made our annual visit to New York City, one of my favorite places. We visited the attractions we routinely visited such as the Rockefeller Christmas tree, Grand Central Station, and my personal favorite, Times Square. However, this time we also visited the 9/11 Memorial at ground zero.
The 9/11 Memorial was one of the most somber, yet peaceful locations I ever had the privilege to visit in my lifetime thus far. While New York City is in constant perpetual motion, the 9/11 Memorial stands still. Its silence is deafening compared the constant noise that consumes every other location in the city. Despite the constant mayhem and brash activity blanketing the city, the memorial was wrapped in peaceful tranquility. The pools residing at the former locations of the North and South towers provided a powerful and honorable tribute to the many victims lost on such a horrendous day in American history.
At only 18 years old, the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centers is a memory I do not clearly remember. Instead, my understanding of a day that will never be forgotten comes from video footage and descriptions of the events from family members who clearly remember September 11th, 2001. Although I do not have my own recollection of this modern American tragedy, my honor to those who were lost and my patriotism for the great country I reside in stands strong.
One feature of the 9/11 Memorial that stood out to me was the names of the first responders listed on the memorial. While I always have always heard people talk about the police officers, fire fighters and paramedics and who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11th, I never realized that there was so many of those selfless souls. However, countless names line the side of the South Tower memorial, and each name is listed under fire, police or ambulance.
The countless names of first responders lost on 9/11 stood out to me because it provided me with the realization that while our world is overrun with hate and crime, the goodness of everyday people shines through. There was 19 hijackers involved with the September 11th attacks. 19 people who took the lives of thousands of innocent citizens and bystanders. However, there is many more than 19 names listed as first responders who perished due to the attacks.
The long list of first responders who selflessly gave their lives in attempt to save others showed me that while the evening news broadcasts about hate, terror and crime every single night, much of the world’s population is still mainly good at heart. Everyday people with families to go home to, mothers and fathers who loved them, husbands and wives who adored them and children who couldn’t imagine life without them selflessly sacrificed their own lives to make sure that people they had never met would go home to their families following the horrific attacks. They decided to dedicate their lives to an oath they took that required them to put strangers’ wellbeing ahead of their own, and it resulted in them making the ultimate sacrifice.
The long list of names belonging to fallen first responders displayed on the side of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City restored my faith in the goodness of people because it showed me that while we are constantly made aware of the bad apples and tragic events plaguing society, beneath the coating of evil is the goodness in average people. While terror does and will continue to exist, I like to believe that people are mostly good at heart. After seeing the many names of the selfless first responders who possessed the bravery to make the ultimate sacrifice while picking of the pieces left behind by the evil in our world, I know that this belief is true.