It’s hard to think of 9/11 without being reminded of two wars, the TSA, warrant-less wiretaps, and tortured prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. I’ve lost sight of the tragedy. I’ve become so cynical to the ways in which 9/11 has been manipulated to manufacture patriotism to justify wars, power grabs, and the erosion of personal liberties that I fully expected my visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York to do little more than reinforce my skepticism.
I was wrong. So wrong.
I don’t believe I’ll ever see a more perfect memorial. I don’t believe I’ll ever be so touched, so affected by a monument created by man. For the first time in years I was reminded of the truly horrific tragedy that started all this. For the first time in years, I was rocked by the sheer magnitude of loss.
The memorial is two fountains in the footprint of the World Trade Center towers. They’re massive, the biggest fountains I’ve ever seen. The water is both deafening and calming, drowning out the noise of the city, creating a place of solemn reflection. The falling water creates a mist reminiscent of smoke rising up out of the hole in the ground where the two largest towers in America once stood. In the center of each fountain is a hole, and the fountains are wide enough that you can’t get an angle from which to see the bottom. The water disappears into nothingness.
The memorial is titled Reflections on Absence.