We got up at 7:00, not because we wanted to but because we would be leaving for home in the afternoon and we had one more thing to do. We were going to the 911 Memorial.

Check out is at 11:00, but we weren’t sure we could get back before that time so Jeff called down to the front desk to ask if we could get a late check out. The response he got was hilarious! The guy at the desk says in his thick Brooklyn accent, “Because it’s you, Mr. Allison, you can have late check out.” How New York is that?

We rode the train to the financial district and walked over to the Memorial. There is a lot of construction going on in the area and we saw a sign saying the building going up is a future World Trade Center addition. Life goes on.

It’s good to remember that because the next couple of hours are completely heart wrenching. We started at the reflecting pools that are built in the footprints of the north and south towers and have the names of all the 911 victims etched into the surrounding rails. All those names. Each belonged to a living, breathing person with family and friends who loved them, lives they were living day to day, plans they had for their futures. Standing on the spot we’ve all seen countless times on tv, watching those planes hit the buildings and the buildings collapse to the ground was very surreal.

We went inside the museum and wandered from level to level. Seeing the pieces of debris from the towers and artifacts from the people who were at work inside the buildings that day caused a huge lump to form in my throat and frustration to burn in my chest at how senseless it all was. The evil it took to end all those lives intentionally is just staggering.

After awhile, we just couldn’t take anymore of it in and we left to go outside into the chilly spring morning. It felt good to breath the fresh air and walk in the sunshine.

We found Trinity Church and the gates were open, so we explored the cemetery, reading the names and dates on the headstones. From the dates on a lot of the graves, we guessed that most of them perished during the Revolutionary War. It was a memorial of a different kind and it was oddly peaceful inside those gates.

We walked on, stopping to buy food from a street vendor. Jeff got a gyro and I went with the cliche and ordered a hot dog. Another thing checked off my New York list!

Then it was time to head back to the hotel, pack up and leave for the airport. New York was fun and exciting, but we were both ready to get back to the wide open spaces of New Mexico. Next stop – HOME!

Until next time, everyone!