I was twelve years old when 9/11 happened. I remember a strange hushed frantic air to the class. There was something going on and it was slowly rippling through the school. To be completely honest I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was back then, but I could tell that something serious had happened. We were all let out early and given advice on how to get home. Luckily I didn’t have far to walk home. The streets were packed with people all walking somewhat aimlessly–in a fog–waiting until they could get home and make sure the news was real for themselves. When I did get home, the planes were crashing into the buildings over and over, on repeat. It made me slightly sick and I turned the TV off.

I never visited the memorial until this past year, and it’s a beautiful place. There’s a mournful stillness about it, and yet still so much hustle and bustle going on outside the memorial that it’s perfect. The heart of New York, still beating after a trauma.

- David Isler, New York City, NY