A Phoenix Burning


We have a Guest Blogger today…my teenaged daughter. Two weeks ago she took a trip that will live in her memory forever, and I wanted her to capture it in words while it was still fresh. She wrote this the day after she came back, and I am finally getting to post it with her photos here. In her own words:

On Saturday my fellow drama clan and I went to see the 9/11 Memorial. When 9/11 had actually happened I was only 4 years old and all I remember is seeing a reporter running away from a cloud of dust swallowing everything in it’s path. I also remember Dad coming home early plus family and friends coming over. What I hadn’t realized was how lucky that I was that everyone I knew personally was safe. Unfortunately that was not the case for everyone.

Well once we arrived at the Memorial Museum a man welcomed us and told his story. He was a survivor from the North Tower. His whole story was very touching but I’ll never be able to retell it and do it justice. After that we had started the audio tour where I heard many more stories. One was from a local school in the area and each kid had gotten called to the office to be brought home except this one kid. He was called last, and the person there to pick him up was his grandfather. That’s when he knew that his parents hadn’t made it. For one woman the real day of tragedy for her was the 12th. Her husband was a firefighter and she said that at least on the 11th she still had some hope that he’d be ok. That ended up not being the case.

After that we headed back and we preformed a song called “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?’ by Alan Jackson. The co-founder of the Memorial, Mary was very pleased with the performance, even called us heroes. I didn’t feel like a hero–all I did was sing a chorus to a song. I hadn’t saved anyone. The real heroes were the firefighters and coworkers who helped other coworkers get out. We also donated money that will help fund the memorial and keep people remembering. It felt good knowing we were helping a bit.

Anyway when that was over we all, went into the Museum. The emotion it brought me was overwhelming. Though I wasn’t directly affected by losing anyone I knew, it hit me hard. A little story that I had come across was about a mother asking her son if dad was ok. The boy said that he was fine but in reality the dad hadn’t made it. The son was protecting his mother’s feelings. Further in was a wall of missing people signs. It showed the hope the families had for finding their loved ones. Then even further were pictures. All were the faces of the victims; two walls filled from floor to ceiling. I just sat there examining the faces with blurry eyes. I hadn’t cried that hard in ages.


On a wall next to the faces were all of the names, 3,497 of them. To the right above the stairwell were origami swans. They were absolutely beautiful. I didn’t get the full story on them so you’re welcome to look it up.

More info here, here, and here.


Next we went to the Memorial site. It was gorgeous. All the names carved around the huge pools, both the actual size of the two buildings, located on the two towers’ footprints. It felt nice and peaceful there. I didn’t want to lean on any of the names since it felt disrespectful. I did trace my finger around the letters but didn’t lean over them. One of my friends said, “Why else would the names be engraved in?” and it hit me that they’re carved in so that they’re permanent, they can’t ever be lost. When I saw the names it kinda bugged me. I wanted to know the actual individuals not just they’re names, like what they liked, what they were like, how their families are, but I possibly will never know. Next to the pools was a tree which survived the attack. It was burned to a stump, transferred, and now it still grows. It has cables around it to help it stay up. It still has some scars but yet it still lives.


This experience I will remember forever. I highly recommend visiting it and learning more about this day that changed the future. Everything is more highly protected, and America is stronger now. Having more insight on 9/11 has helped explain some things. I can’t ever even imagine what these families, heroes, victims, or survivors have and had gone through. Yet I just hope this never happens again and I know many people are working on that now.

~Ella 🙂





One response

  1. Ella, you have written such an evocative, beautiful account, I feel as if I have been there myself. I live in the UK but visited New York in 2007: the 9/11 site was still just a gash in the ground. It is good to see time has made that place one in which we can remember all those faces on that wall. Food for thought. Thank you.

    June 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm

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