Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Me, Us, America


Once upon a time one could watch a TV show without a news ticker announcing the latest sports scores, stock prices, or breaking news at the bottom of a television screen.  That ‘once upon a time’ was September 10, 2001.
 
On September 11th, everything changed.  As a necessity, news channels had to develop a dual delivery system to both report and direct.  They needed a real-time approach to unpack the chaos of a terrorist attack on American soil.  But, they also needed a constant approach echoing basic information paramount to the safety of all involved.  It was that day that the Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC all began using news tickers floating across the bottom of our television screens.  Now, every time I see a news ticker, I can’t help but think of how 9/11 has changed me.  Changed us.  Changed America.

I had a suitcase in my car and an American Airlines plane ticket to Los Angeles in my purse that morning.  It wasn’t until my phone started ringing endlessly with panicked voices of loved ones on the line telling me not to get on a plane that I realized the catastrophe that is now part of America’s story.   But, it was over the next several days that I realized something profound.  While I was running away from the danger, many others, policemen, firefighters, and first responders were running toward it.  The heroism that the world witnessed at the World Trade Center changed me.  Changed us.  Changed the America.

This past spring, my 16-year-old, Griffin, and I had the privilege of traveling to New York City during Spring Break. Hundreds of men, women, and children from all over the world were there to pay their respects.  There was a magnificent hum in the air as machine operators did their part to rebuild what once stood at the corner of Liberty Street and Church Street in New York City.  Architect Michael Arad designed the two reflecting pools, entitled “Reflecting Absence” that stand in the footprints of the two former towers.  Around the pool edges you can touch the 2,977 names of those lost etched in stone at The National September 11th Memorial.

The Survivor Tree in 2002
(courtesy of NY Parks Dept)
And then I saw something peculiar.  Well, not so much peculiar, but out of place.  Almost unreal.  At the very site of such death and destruction stood a lone, beautiful, healthy, vibrant, living pear tree.
If you haven’t heard about The Survivor Tree, it has an incredible story.  This tree, too, was a victim of the 9/11 tragedy.  Here is a picture of the tree, slashed to a mere 8 feet tall, just a few months after the disaster.  It was then that horticulturist Richie Cabo of the New York City Parks Department decided to try to nurse this tree back to health.

Nine years of tender loving care by Cabo took this barely living tree from a few frail branches to a thriving transplant back to its original home on the property of the World Trade Center.  I smiled widely as I took this picture of Griffin standing under the, now 35 foot, blossoming beauty. 

There’s just something about new life growing where so many lives were taken.  Something about a ray of light in the midst of darkness.  Something about a glimmer of hope where all seemed lost.

And today I am thankful for that something because it has changed me.  Changed us.  Changed America.    
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1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed that very much Dawn, thank you.

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