I Visited the 9/11 Memorial in New York and This Happened

Rose in the Mist at the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, N.Y., Feb. 2016
Rose in the Mist at the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, N.Y., Feb. 2016

I believe in a Higher Power. I believe in signs. I believe everything happens for a reason.

I didn’t know her but unknowingly standing in front of her name etched in bronze, I was heavy with sadness. Blinking away tears and trying to hide them from my friend, I looked for distractions while he photographed the scenery.

I looked down, spotted her name and the floodgates opened. My friend looked down and asked, “Jenn, do you see it?”

At this point, I couldn’t turn off the faucet of tears. Nodding, I paused before eeking out a, “Yes,” and pointed to the name.

Her Name at the 9/11 Memorial

I finally had the courage to visit the 9/11 Memorial during a business trip to New York City earlier this month and something incredible happened. Seeing the memorial is something I have wanted to do on previous visits but didn’t think I had the courage to do so. 9/11 was an emotional and frightening experience for me and didn’t think I could hold it together while visiting the memorial.

During this trip, I met up with a friend who agreed to make the trek. I figured having someone along would be a good distraction. Plus, I value his friendship and if I did breakdown, I’d be in good company.

9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016
9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016

We took the C Train from Midtown Manhattan to the end at the World Trade Center. While walking to the memorial and fending off guys trying to sell us 9/11 guides, I told my friend about our mutual friend who lost her sister in one of the towers.

There was a sense of peace and calmness upon reaching the memorial and I felt okay, meaning, I didn’t think I would breakdown. It’s pretty amazing that in a bustling city that never sleeps, something tranquil exists.

9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016
9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016

We visited the North Pool first, which is located in the footprint of the World Trade Center North Tower. Both the North and South (located in the footprint of the World Trade Center South Tower) Pools are black and square with water running over the sides into a large pool then falling into a smaller square pool. The North Pool contains names inscribed in bronze of those lost in that tower on Sept. 11, 2001 as well as the Feb. 26, 1993 attack and souls on Flight 11. The South Pool has names of those who perished in the World Trade Center South Tower including First Responders and Flights 77, 93 and 175 as well as the Pentagon.

Oculus Near the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016
Oculus Near the 9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016

We occasionally stopped to snap photos of the roses left in some names or the scenery. My friend stopped to photograph Oculus (which is being built over the rebuilt World Trade Center transportation hub and will only open once a year, on Sept. 11) across the way from the North Pool and this is when I spotted the name.

Sure, we had stopped and saw other names but we weren’t specifically looking for this one. Was it a coincidence or did a Higher Power cause our pause in front of her name? I’ve shared this story about a dozen times and each time goose bumps run up my arms and spine.

9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016
9/11 Memorial, New York City, NY, Feb. 10, 2016

Have you visited the opens in a new window9/11 Memorial and if so, what kind of experience did you have?



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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