“I love you Daddy,” says the message scribbled above the face of a gentle-looking man. A pot of flowers sits below the picture.
Next to it is a mural from a church. Dozens upon dozens of messages adorn it. “God Bless America.” “United We Stand.” “Our thoughts are with you, New York.”
I pause and look up between the buildings. It’s been a year since I’ve been back. The memory of how the Twin Towers looked from this street have since faded from my mind.
Despite that, I can feel a void in the sky.
Behind me is a bold peace symbol. “War is not the answer,” are the words below it.
Right next to it is a poster saying, “Do not forgive. Do not forget.”
There are crowds moving on the sidewalk. A couple with a southern twang passes in front of me. The wife poses in front of the posters and her husband takes a photograph.
I try to swallow a knot in my throat. When I moved to San Francisco, I took dozens of photographs during a walk around the city. I told myself that I would do the same for New York City someday.
I will fulfill my promise this week. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the chance to photograph the proud Twin Towers.
Another tourist poses in front of the posters. I don’t have my camera right now; I don’t want to make my first visit here a tourist visit. Respects need to be given first.
The wind blows violently down the street. Tourists are practically blown down the sidewalk. I turn up my coat’s collars.
Crowds flood me as I try to maneuver down the sidewalk. Hearing the click of a camera is just as frequent as the honk of a horn.
All streets leading into the site are blocked. Most of the wreckage has been cleared. The memorial posters and the void in the sky is all that is left.
I turn to face the site, bow my head, and whisper a prayer. My eyes blink from the swelling of tears. I try to swallow the knot again. Then I open my eyes and walk back uptown.
Have you been to Ground Zero?