Thanksgiving Day draws many people to New York City, and millions have visited the 9/11 Memorial since it opened last year. Among visitors on Thanksgiving were the men and women who had been working in New York and New Jersey for several weeks after Sandy. Some spent Thanksgiving away from their families in a big, unfamiliar city. They came from everywhere –including Tennessee, Arkansas, Nevada, Iowa, Alabama and Oregon.
Once again, similar to the response after the 9/11 attacks, our nation united as one in the face of heartbreaking circumstances. These workers and volunteers were not full of despair, but rather brimming with hope. They spoke not of a decimated coastline, but of a region that was picking up the pieces and rising.
Standing on the memorial plaza, visitor services hosts like myself are reminded of the thousands of families that once again spent Thanksgiving without a loved one. The empty voids where the towers once stood, and the countless tributes left in honor of those who perished on 9/11, leads us to reflect on all that is absent, while the changing skyline serves as a reminder of our resiliency. This holiday season is a time for us to give thanks for all of those who continue to make tremendous sacrifices to keep us safe and help us rebuild.
By Lucie M. Iuzzolino, Visitor Services Host for the 9/11 Memorial