To the best of my ability I can finally say "I get it". Since I was not closely associated with any of the victims, nor had I ever even traveled to New York City prior to September 11th, I will never fully be able to "get it", but stepping on the hallow grounds of the 9/11 memorial was truly impactful. For most of us September 11th was a tragic day we will never forget, but I can honestly say it is not something I constantly think about. I am reminded of it particularly when I travel through the extra security measures, but my life does not typically consist of metal detectors or x-ray machines.
Spending a significant amount of time walking around the streets of New York City, I was able to observe and really studying the people of New York. Up until now, my travels to the big apple were brief interludes as I hopped from one tourist attraction to the next, but this time it was the "concrete jungle" and me. I navigated the subway, walked more in the past nine days than I have in a long time, was reminded of the importance of a good pair of shoes, and felt an added appreciation for a healthy body. For a person who yearns to be outdoors amongst nature, it was a different week for me to be among glass, concrete and steel and quite frankly the city took hold of my heart.
I finally understand why people in New York City are so proud to call it home. I understand what it means to live with heartache, lost dreams and still continue to push onward, rebuild your life and despite all odds even flourish. New York can be a rough and tough place, but as I walked the streets and my feet hit the pavement, I felt a connection to this human existence of heartache, trial and triumphant.