I’ve always been fascinated by memorials and the different ways we honor the past. During my last trip to New York, and for that matter, every trip I’ve taken to New York since 2001, I’ve always made it a point to stop by the site of the WTC attacks. And every time, I can’t help but to imagine the horrors that took place that day on the very spot that I am standing. It’s a very surreal experience. Today, the site is beautiful, with many trees, the sound of the water falling in the background and a general peaceful atmosphere (if you can ignore the construction sounds just outside the site, that is) which is in absolute contrast with the images we’ve been bombarded with of that day. It almost doesn’t feel right, sitting on the perfectly trimmed grass, seeing tourists and locals wandering around, knowing that those who are being honored by this very memorial were just like us, going about their day, some of them on that very spot, not knowing that their names would one day be included in the list of almost 3,000 people who passed away on a day that will never be forgotten. My mind wanders to the many people that day that showed incredible bravery and sacrifice without thinking twice about it. While memorials in general are incredibly sad, it is also inspiring to think about what those around us are capable of doing in order to help others. There are numerous stories of bravery that day, but also countless other stories that will never be told. 441 first responders died as a result of the September 11th attacks. That number alone probably does not even come close to the actual number of people who passed away as they were trying to save someone else’s life. I ended up thinking about these events several times throughout my trip, as I visited the Memorial, the Tribute Center and later the Newseum in Washington D.C., all three were worth a visit. Of course, keep in mind that you do have to be ok with group crying a lot on vacation.