Innocence Lost: 9/11 Twenty Years Later

There are two ways to lose our innocence. The first is the slow and gradual growth to maturity when old ideas begin to be replaced with new ideas. The second is when a single event forever changes the way we see the world.

Today is the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It was an ordinary day. The sky was blue and bright, a perfect early fall day. Offices, schools, and stores opened as normal. Then the first place hit the Twin Towers and everything changed.

I was in college back then, part of the younger generation. It’s amazing how fast two decades can go. Though it seems like it will take forever for the time to pass, it goes in the blink of an eye. Those of us who were young then are now adults with adult responsibilities. Some of the the kids who were too young to know what was going on or not yet born are now on the verge of adulthood themselves.

On Thursday, The Brian Lehrer Show asked listeners what the term “never forget” meant to them. What I remember is that for a brief time, the divisions that normally kept us apart disappeared. We were all Americans and we were all grieving. It was a communal loss that knew no boundaries or labels.

Last month, I visited the 9/11 Museum with a couple of friends. It was my second visit. Walking into the building is akin to a ten pound weight being thrust on your shoulders. There is an energy that is emotional, heavy, and sometimes difficult to bear. The energy of the day and the souls of the innocent people whose lives were taken that day are all around you, a solemn reminder of what was lost on that beautiful September day.

It was if nothing else, a potent reminder of how important it is to not only live while you can, but tell the ones you love how you feel before it is too late.

May the memories of the nearly 3000 people who were taken us from forever be a blessing. Z”L.

The 9/11 Museum

Museums are supposed to be educational and illuminating. That does not mean that they cannot be engaging. Or that they can’t induce tears.

A little more than ten years after September 11th, 2001, the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public. Built on the site of the Twin Towers, the museum is a living memorial to the victims of both the September 11th attacks and the attack in 1993. Containing artifacts from the ruins, multimedia installations, pictures of the victims and the everyday of objects belonging to those who survived and/or perished, this museum stands out among the museums in New York City.

Walking into this museum is like walking into a time capsule. It is also like walking in a tomb. While there are parts of the exhibit that are heartbreaking, there are also parts that remind us that life does go on and while we will never forget, we can heal.

I absolutely recommend it, for both locals and visitors.

The museum is located at 180 Greenwich St in New York City.

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