This week marks the 12th anniversary of the darkest day in American history in the 21st century.
Everyone remembers where they were that day , whether it was at work , in school , at home , in the skies above the US or at sea , for everyone it was the greatest shocker.
We all knew our world had changed forever , we knew and predicted the coming of dark times and all of the above in the coming years. 12 years later , 2 major wars in the middle east and one continuing conflict in Afghanistan , 38,668 coalition casualties , thousands of civilian casualties and thousands more injured its been a grim and brutal decade in the aftermath of 9/11 and the continuing war on Terror.
The new WTC building has been meet with much controversy budget cuts and various changes and re-designs to the tower to the finalized design have been marred with delays , the building was supposed to be completed in 2010 it then was pushed further , the PATH station remains un-finished and the other 2 buildings have yet to be constructed.
This year I was in Jersey City and New York to witness the tribute in light , I arrived in Jersey city in the late afternoon and watched as many gathered to the waterfront to see the WTC , the surrounding memorials . As I strolled through , I sensed a serene and sense of peace and calm with signs of rebuilding.
The newly finished WTC was a shining jewel and a symbol of reconstruction and endurance.
I staked out until the sun set upon New York and night fall came as the tribute in light slowly becan to power up until reaching full power at around 8pm EST.
Majestic it was , as hundreds of people lined up on the waterfront pulling out their cameras and their phones to photograph the lights at full power with the new WTC , the trinity had finally come but it was not the only event of that night .
The cruise liner P&O Aurora had docked in New York the previous day and had an overnight stay in New York , she arrived at around 10am on 9/9 and she departed Manhattan at 8pm then made her way to pass the WTC and the tribute in light. This was a first as Aurora usually departs at 5:30 pm EST , this rare occasion made for a unique trinity of the 3 ( The WTC , Aurora and the tribute in light) all set in one moment.
What most people don't know is Aurora has a connection with 9/11:
THE 9/11 CONNECTION
On the morning of 11 September 2001, Aurora was positioned approximately 80 miles south of New York City and 20 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey while a conference of IT executives and vendors hosted by Richmond Events was occurring on board. The ship had embarked from Pier 53 in New York City on the evening of 9 September. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center that morning there were concerns for the safety of the British owned ship. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and vessels briefly protected the Aurora until it was determined that the vessel was not in danger. The ship was planned to return to Manhattan on 12 September but due to the closure of Pier 53 the ship instead sailed to Boston to disembark its passengers. Many of the executives on board were from the banking and financial services industries and it was estimated that as many as 50 executives worked in Tower 1 and Tower 2 of the World Trade Center and adjacent buildings. Reports from conference attendees were that several executives on board were in communication via smartphones with their staffs in Tower 1 and Tower 2 who eventually perished in the collapse of those buildings.
8:30 pm Aurora had sailed into the night , I on the other hand had to rush on the PATH train to proceed to the Manhattan side and continue my documentation of the event.
The humidity and the haze made for a cloudy and not so fully clear skies but the view was amazing and a sight to behold as many downtown looked up at the sky in wow and amazement . Even though it is of course a sad anniversary , Its a celebration of life and rebuilding and bonding.
Even in the aftermath of 9/11 how over 12 years the nation has been divided over many topics and the 8 years of chaos of the Bush Administration , the economic crash of 2008 and its aftermath.
It has been a challenging decade and 2 years , but I've seen we shall over come and we will endure as we have endured.