Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A trip to New York...and a surprising discovery

From a friend who recently returned from a visit to New York...
Greetings Everyone from New York:

This morning my husband and I went to the 9/11 Memorial Site. After passing through more security than I have ever seen at any airport in the world (including Tel Aviv) we arrived at the North and South Reflecting Pools. The "reflecting pools" are located on the footprints of World Trade Center One and World Trade Center Two. Around the perimeter 3,000 names are engraved, identified by fire company, police battalion, etc. which gives you a sense of the enormity of the loss and how many co-workers were lost to each group. That was good.

The problem is, they are not actually "reflecting pools," but more like a cross between a waterfall and a giant toilet. Plus when the wind blows (every 2-3 minutes) you get sprayed with water. So, it is not only not an emotional and moving experience to be there, it is annoying and unpleasant. A huge disappointment.

However, despite the memorial's shortcomings it is humbling to stand on the site where two 110 story buildings were once and are no longer.

Just a few feet away is the still under construction, but almost complete Freedom Tower. Futuristic and ugly. Looks like it would be more comfortable in the Dubai skyline than the New York City skyline.

However, just blocks away, a completely different experience. There's a small gem of a museum that was founded by some family members of the victims. It is so heart wrenching that they literally have boxes of tissues every few feet for the public to partake of, and believe me, you need those damn tissues.

The small museum, TRIBUTE WTC VISITOR CENTER, has videos, artifacts (a broken fireman's helmet, a melted airplane window, an intact passenger's boarding pass, etc.) quotes from family members and first responders and is just beautifully and tastefully done.

I was lucky enough to meet Lee Ielpi, one of the museum's founders. Lee's a retired fireman who's son, Jonathan Ielpi, also a fireman, died on 9/11. I cried as I spoke with Mr. Ielpi. Oddly enough, he bears a striking resemblance to Rudy Guilliani.
It's hard to believe it's been more than a decade.

God Bless America.

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