Monday, 1 October 2012

Inspiration and Dedication:

It’s been a busy summer and the rush is carrying on into term time! I finished working for the universities clearing team at the beginning of September which was great I had so much fun and met loads of great people. From there I jetted off to New York for my 21st birthday where I done loads of shopping (obviously!) and went to see all the sights. The most memorable part of my trip was taking the 9/11 World Trade Centre tour which I would like to share.

We started in the St Pauls Chapel where people would come to pay their respects and see all the memories of the lives lost on that day. The chapel was used as a place where the emergency services could come and rest, doctors would see to their wounds and strangers would come to offer their help by cooking for them and doing whatever they could.

We then went to the American Express headquarters within the World Financial Centre next to the World Trade Centre plot. Within here is a memorial piece for the 11 American Express employees who were working in one of the towers on that day and sadly lost their lives. The memorial consists of an 11 sided polygon pool with a name written on each side of the pool and in the water a few words chosen by their families engraved in the granite. There is a 600 lb crystal suspended above the pool held up by 11 strings with the strings going up to 11 spotlights in the ceiling. By each light is a hole where a droplet of water comes out at times and drops into the pool like tears. This is where the memorial got its’ name of the “11 Tears Memorial”. It was so peaceful a tranquil and a lovely thought from the American Express company to remember their fallen employees from that day.

We then went to the World Trade Centre Memorial Park where two giant water falls (called “footprints”) stand where the twin towers once stood. The water falls were so large it really put into perspective the size of the towers and the horror that occurred on that day. Around each water fall (the north and south), the names of everyone lost in that tower and been engraved around the edges so that families have a place to come to remember their loved ones by. It was so surreal to be standing on the ground where so much terror, panic and destruction was caused on that day and now we were standing at the water fall’s edge where it was like a mini heaven. I think having that feeling there is vital to the memory off all the people who lost their lives that tragic day as so many people were never found and they can be remembered as resting in one of the most peaceful places I have ever been in.

Around 3,000 people lost their lives that day with so many going back into the building to save others but never coming back out themselves. They deserve to be remembered for their courage, loyalty and dedication to their jobs, employees and country.

From this tour and hearing about the emergency services, security guards, priest’s stories of their compassion for their jobs regardless of the situation they were put in made me take another look at myself and my compassion. The dedication they had for their jobs is something I admire to have in my future career and I am determined to use that compassion in my studies not just for my benefit, but for all those young people who were only just starting out and never got to show off their full potential because their lives got cut short by acts of terrorism.

I would like to leave you with the thought of how the Americans have interpreted that day.

The designer of the twin towers Minoru Yamasaki wanted the towers to symbolise “man’s humanity to man”. When the twin towers collapsed, New Yorker’s came from everywhere to pull together and help in every possible way they could. Whether that was cooking for the emergency services, helping with the clean up of the towers, helping to find survivors, help to try to find bodies to bring back to their loved ones or even if it was just to come and give some comfort to worried families.

And that’s how American’s remember that day. It’s not about the terror that was inflicted on them, but how the purpose of those towers stood strong and still does even in their absence.

Hearing the inspirational story from my tour guide who was there in an office close by on that day made me take a second look on life and how short it can be and that we should take every opportunity that comes along. I can certainly say it has changed my view on life and I hope you could find some inspiration from it no matter what it may be just like I did.

I recommend the documentary called 9/11 about the first fire fighters that were on the scene that morning, it was a real eye opener to the courage that can come out of people in times like that.

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