Hopeless romantic-A A +A
The Iron Maiden
Thursday, July 17, 2014
ILLINOIS, USA - I am an incorrigible romantic.
And so imagine my excitement when my Ate told me we were going to New York City for a day into our ten-day road trip.
I was thinking Carrie Bradshaw and “Sex and the City”. Stiletto heels, summer dresses and fine dining.
Instead, we took the subway train from Jersey City where our hotel was located to the World Trade Center stop. I was informed staying in NYC would have cost us thrice or even four times the rate of our hotel in Jersey. So I found myself underground in what was to be an 8 minute trip to the Big Apple.
From the World Trade Center stop, we walked 9 blocks (I’m sorry but I don’t even have the words to define what a “block” is) in the 35-degree C weather as instructed by one of New York’s Finest to the National September 11 Memorial Museum located at the World Trade Center site.
Waiting in line for our turn to get into the museum (only a determined number of people are allowed in the museum) I was once again thinking how “romantic” it will be to see remnants of the building which has become synonymous to a worldwide campaign against terrorism.
However, immediately at the entrance, the cool air of the air conditioning unit will blast you into a cold rather than romantic reality about the enormity of loss and almost unspeakable grief of that fateful day.
Armed with a map of the museum, we were able to explore it’s more important features and exhibits. Remarkable were the “Survivors’ Staircase”, where survivors took the stairs to their safety and a small portion of the original façade of the World Trade Center.
The museum has a total of 110,000 square feet of display area. And these areas use multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of artifacts to retell the 9/11 story.
The stories of the men and women and children who lost their lives in this terrorist attack continue to be retold in this museum while relating the stories of those who survived and those who showed extraordinary courage and compassion during the tragedy which changed the course of the history of the world.
A significant number of the museum’s personnel are actually volunteers. They answer queries from guests and will be more than happy to escort you around.
Walking around the cold (literally) museum, one gets a feeling of the building’s sanctity. A lot of guests were reduced to tears just by looking at the artifacts. I felt the same way.
And yet what I felt could be nothing to the way the survivors, their kin, the victims and their families felt and still feel whenever they step into these sacred halls.
But more than the feeling of loss and grief, “the museum attests to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and affirms an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life.”
Indeed. God bless America, my family’s adoptive homeland.
It’s still July 16 in this part of the world as of this writing.
And so I take a moment to remember and pray for those who perished in the July 16, 1990 earthquake.
And I also take a moment to remember and pray for those who risked their lives to save others. My late father pops Willy witnessed and documented a lot of these stories and related them to us through the years.
I haven’t encountered that word in a while, “depravity” – immorality, corruption, or wickedness. But it is something which we encounter everyday, whether in our homeland or not.
But something I have learned from the two events above, that man-made or nature, in the face of tragedy we see more of man’s good heart. Were we not made in that mold?
This belief I guess is what keeps the romantic in me alive.
God bless the Philippines and Baguio City. May the lessons of the killer earthquake continue to encourage us to protect Mother Nature and be our brother’s keeper.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 18, 2014.