Still on Tuesday, 3 May 2011 - yes, we covered a lot of ground in one day!

Lower Manhattan is also the financial district of New York. We wandered over to Wall Street to check it out!

Photo with the Wall Street street sign - haha!

There was a small graveyard right in the city (which was part of a church) and I could see people sitting on the benches inside, chatting and having a snack. I guess it must be a pretty serene and quiet place but it's not really my choice of a hangout place.

We made our way to Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center. Across from the site is the Tribute WTC Visitor Center. We went there first.

There are five galleries in the center. The first gallery remembers the World Trade Centre as a community of people, a neighbourhood and a home away from home, with quotes from people who worked there and lots of photos. The second gallery depicts the tragic moments of 9/11 and the third, the immense rescue and recovery efforts. There was a moving video of all the people rallying together to offer help and support, to comb through the debris and rubble day and night looking for survivors, to just be together through the heartbreaking days and weeks that followed the tragedy. The fourth gallery was made up of photographs and personal memorabilia contributed by the families of the victims. This is a shot of the fourth gallery.

From here, you go downstairs to the last gallery. On the way, there is a collection of pictures done by children

and thousands of paper cranes folded in memory of the victims.

The last gallery is a space for reflection and thought. You are invited to pen down your thoughts and comments and drop them in the box on the table.

Ryan quietly contributing his thoughts
In the last gallery, there is also a scale model of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which is presently being constructed on the site of the World Trade Centre. This will remember both the victims and those involved in rescue. Other buildings on the site include the Freedom Tower (now called 1 WTC) and three other high-rise office buildings.

I was very moved. The tragedy of the attack is something that most people can appreciate but visiting the centre gave me a greater understanding and appreciation of the surrounding circumstances. The catastrophe mobilised thousands of people for a common purpose, some driving from other states just because they felt that they had to do something. Some sacrificed their lives in the rescue and recovery operations, whether related to the victims or not.

In Singapore, we are always complaining that nobody gives up their seat on the train for pregnant ladies or drivers don't give way on the roads. We actually have to resort to a "Kindness Movement" and a "National Courtesy Campaign". It is depressing to think that we have to be taught or reminded how to be courteous and kind. So, it was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing to come away from the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre and know that, when it comes to the crunch, there is still selflessness, kindness, empathy and a sense of solidarity in us.

This is a shot of Ground Zero, which is now a huge construction site. The Tribute WTC Visitor Centre organises guided walks around the site.

This is, or will be, Freedom Tower. Upon completion it will be the tallest all-office building in the world.

Next to the Tribute WTC Visitor Centre is the Fire Department of New York. There is a large mural on the side of the building to remember the firefighters who participated in the rescue and recovery, many of whom lost their own lives.

Our trip was a timely one as Osama bin Laden had been killed by Navy Seals just a few days before. If anything, it was something like a happy ending. It was proof that good does triumph over evil and that you should never give up the good fight.

This note says
"From Mummy
- God Bless America! -
We Love You, Simon
RIP 9/11 Victims.
We got him - the devil is gone."

While I can never equate myself to a person who lost a loved one in the attacks, I am so glad that we had the chance to visit the site and the centre. It was an important reminder that the human spirit is unbreakable, that adversity makes us stronger and that love transcends all.


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