Sunday was another bright day in the city which made for a perfect backdrop for our first community event. The Millers invited Z and I to join their team for the annual 9/11 Memorial Walk 5K, benefitting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Before living here, I had not visited NYC since July 2004. Back then, the area where the Twin Towers used to stand looked more like a construction zone, a somber site of what it used to be. Now the Memorial has incredible twin reflecting pools each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.
It is without a doubt one of the top tourist attractions in the city but I’ll admit it feels strange to take photos and observe the other tourists who lean up against it or have their kids sitting on the edge with their parents. It feels a bit inappropriate given the reason for the structures but at least people feel it’s important to visit the site and remember all that was lost and what has since been rebuilt. The long term plan is to eventually have 7 towers, all of unique architectural structure (see Wings structure below).
My favorite part of the Memorial is the “Survivor Tree.” The Callery pear tree is the only tree to survive the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. In October 2001, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. It doesn’t look like any of the other trees which makes it presence so much more powerful. Pretty cool, eh?
Anyhoo, the 5K had hundreds of people for an 8:00am start full of runners and walkers alike. It felt amazing to be a part of our first community event to make us feel even more like a part of the city. It was an honor to be a part of and a great way to give back.
At the end of the race there was an array of food trucks, kids’ games and face-painting, booths from local sponsors, and a live band comprised of Army soldiers, by far one of the best parts of the day.
Thank you Parv and Andy for inviting us to join you! Looking forward to making it an annual event!
Editor’s note: Although a very serious cause and event, we did have a bit of fun during the walk. One of Zach’s best friends had done a Spartan race in Seattle the day before (it’s one of those 9-mile intense, mud-run, obstacle course type races) so Z felt the need to show him that he was equally “challenged” on his 3.2 miles of walking. Sorry dear, had to share!