After one call from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, I got busy creating a special Tree Hugger® that would compliment the bronze around the fountains at the memorial. The names of those who perished on September 11th surround the fountain and they are etched into the bronze so you can take a piece of paper and trace over it and walk away with your loved ones name on the paper. You see families with their pencil and papers working to take that name with them.
The Director was clear; the only names that would grace Ground Zero would be those whose lives were lost. They came up with an alpha-numeric ID system for the modified Tree Hugger® so it would not conflict with the fountain. Each donor who sponsors a trees would have a unique ID code. You can walk the grounds and see all of the Tree Huggers® hanging up in the trees. The donors know which tree is theirs!
I had the privilege of working with Ron Vega, Museum Director, installing some of the tags. In the quiet of this peaceful place, we climbed the ladder and gently wrapped the spring around the tag and hooked it into the bronze oval. You stood back and stared at each one, each representing a completed project. To be part of the process was so memorable and I will carry this with me forever.It is sacred, hauntingly quiet with water rushing to soothe the silence… I will relive that day and feeling humbled by being involved in a piece of history.
We were invited to a dinner that night with some of the families. They gather every year together in New York to eat, drink and remember. We met a Mom and Dad. Their daughter was scheduled to attend a seminar for work. She had learned that that to be-early-was-to-be-on-time. The camera captured her walking into the Twin Towers and taking the elevator up to the 84th floor. She was there for a minute and the first plane hit. Their daughter had never been on a plane, had never been to New York and was attending her first meeting at her new job. They lost their baby girl at the age of 23. Year after year, they make the journey on 9/11.
One of the Firefighters always joins this small group. It is so powerful to be around a man who would give his life to save another, without question.
We cried, they sang and join together to remember.