We will never forget.
Never have four words been so monumental in the wake of a national disaster. Today we celebrate the heroic efforts of New York City’s first responders who successfully aided 25,000 citizens escape from the World Trade Center. Today we solemnly mourn the sacrifices of the thousands who succumbed to the vile attacks on American soil.
Today we reminisce on the 2001 tragedy that violently took the lives of nearly 3,000 of our citizens. Today we mark the 18th anniversary of a terrorist attack that physically, psychologically and vehemently changed our entire nation forever.
The iconic landmark that symbolizes our hope and freedom stands brightly in the wake of the 9/11 terror. Just last weekend, we made a concerted effort to visit the iconic landmark, witnessing again for ourselves the symbolic tower in all its glory.
The World Trade Center has several references including One World Trade Center (1 WTC), The Freedom Tower or its former coined name, Ground Zero. Its exquisite tower encompasses a 14-acre parcel inside the Lower Manhattan District. The icon was constructed to become the tallest structure in the U.S., and the sixth tallest building in the entire world. Coincidentally, the 104-story structure extends to a symbolic 1,776 feet — denoting the year of inception of our nation’s Declaration of Independence.
We witnessed for ourselves a beautifully eloquent skyscraper overshadowing that horrendous day in history. We saw again for ourselves its tranquil, 8-acre memorial site paying homage to those who lost their lives. We touched the marble etchings which has solemnly recorded the names of the nearly 3,000 who fell victim during the horrific terrorist attack.
We stood proudly at the 9/11 Memorial, marveling at its pair of reflecting pools symbolizing the base of the former Twin Towers. We watched for, and listened to, the soothing, tranquil cascading of the country’s largest man-made waterfalls.
We observed the gorgeous White Oaks — nearly 400 of them — blooming in the Towers’ circumferences. We learned that one species of trees planted on the site is the Callery Pear Tree, now designated by officials as the Survivor Tree. Miraculously — despite it being ravaged by the enormous flames from the two crashing airliners — the species has since flourished.
During the past 18 years, We Will Never Forget, has become a common reference of those who supported and those who voluntarily enlisted in the subsequent War on Terror.
Many historians still describe how the 2001 disaster radically altered the once hustling and bustling skyscape of New York’s Financial District. We witnessed the vacancy left by the attacks that have, however, given rise to the beautifully crafted One World Trade Center.
As my photo depicts, its majestic stature represents hope, it stands for unwavering optimism of our nation, and continues to exude resilience of all Americans alike.
No. We will never forget.
Kim Lambert is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of The Angier Independent.