Fujifilm X-T2 W/XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR
9/11: This is the closest to ground zero I've been in 7 years.
The last time I was here in New York City the worst terrorist attack on my country took place. I, like everyone else on my flight out of Laguardia was clueless for hours until we landed. The airport was busier than I've ever seen it with lot's of security/law enforcement presence. That's when I got the news and took out my cell phone to place a call that would never be answered.
I've been avoiding it for a long time but on this trip I visited to pay respects to my friend at the monument. It's a strange feeling being here and listening to the sounds of tourists laughing, smiling...kids running around screaming. Kinda far removed from the absolute terror it represents for most of us with a connection to the names of those etched into stone.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have hard feelings towards them at all. I've been to to other places in my travels where I've looked upon shrines like this without fully grasping the significance they represent but I've always made a point of being respectful. Still, it was a strange feeling to see the casual selfies being taken for instagram. To be honest, I don't think I'll be back.
The day before we got dinner at Katz's Deli, possibly my favourite place to eat in New York City. I had the Pastrami and as usual my eyes were way bigger than my stomach. I kept looking at my watch (I actually wore one back then) and my friend laughed and grabbed my ticket to pay the tab on the way out. "You never change, no matter where you're at home is always on your mind" he said. He was right...I love travelling but I love being home too and when I'm done seeing someplace new I can't wait to return to my four walls. We parted ways after making plans to meet up for coffee in the morning.
Fujifilm X-T2 W/XF80mm F2.8 R LM WR
The next day we met in Battery Park and chatted while walking the length of the pier. "Don't be a stranger, we don't want another 3 years to go by without a visit". A hug, high five and a bro' shake before parting ways. The last time I saw my friend is burned into my heart. He wasn't some random guy I met late in life. We were tight since short pants even though he was a few years older, riding bikes in our small town neighbourhood and whistling at girls. Right up through high school until we parted ways...he to Harvard and me heading off to Canada. We stayed close although from afar. I didn't go home to the USA very often back then but we made a point to stay in touch.
Visiting ground zero reminded me that everything has a price and Freedom most of all has the highest cost. This holiday season make sure you tell those you care about how important they are to you. More importantly, stay in touch.