Last week I was in New York City for an interview for a summer internship. The view from my 9th story Millennium Hotel room looked straight into the pit of what was the World Trade Center. It was an absolutely incredible sight for several reasons:
1. It was a fresh reminder of the destruction that we all too easily forget.
2. It was an inspiration because there were construction crews working 24/7 to rebuild and create a beautiful memorial.
3. Until you can look at the area from a bird’s eye view, you cannot fully grasp the size and magnitude of what the buildings were.
4. The view was a photographer’s dream.
As I started snapping pictures of the site from my window and then down on the ground, I got to thinking about September 11th. I realized just how easy it is to forget about such a tragic event like this, the people who lost loved ones, and those who heroically gave their lives. There is a wall outside of the fire department that when I was in New York just two years ago was covered with notes and flowers, but now just a few flowers remain. As a nation, I feel like we may be forgetting to remember, but if we are always forgetting and living in the present, how can we ever learn from the past?
On the other hand, the remaining flowers also made me realize that there are family members and friends of those who died that day who are still living in the past memories they have. Instead of forgetting to remember, they struggle with remembering to forget. Yes, it is important to keep the memories of their loved ones alive, but at the same time they need to focus on their present life as well; living it to the fullest which is what their lost loved ones would want.
The pit of the World Trade Center will always be a reminder of what happened, but the surrounding New York City towers cover the hole as we move on. However, the coming memorial will be a reminder that we must never fully forget the past either. There is a balance between remembering and forgetting. Finding the perfect mix between the two will help us learn from the past while still living each day to the fullest.