I'm sorry I'm late posting. Jetlag kicked in and I fell asleep as soon as I returned to my room last night (granted, it was 11:30pm, so it was still late in its own right).
Yesterday's Joyful moment...
Well, it was our last day of scavenges and the end of this Global Scavenger Hunt that has occupied my life for the last three weeks. We spent the day in NYC running around like tourists, and my favorite scavenge of the day, and the most profound joyful moment, was going to the top of the new World Trade Center.
The last time I visited the WTC, before it was a vast emptiness, was January of 2001. My parents and I had visited New York a few times during my childhood, after stopping to see my grandparents who then lived in Philadelphia, but this was the first time we decided to visit the top of the trade center. I remember taking pictures from the top--being able to see for miles and miles above all of the skyscrapers. It made it especially profound for me, then, nine months later when I watched the towers fall.
Sixteen years later, and I was again able to visit the top of the highest building in the Western Hemisphere, now named "One World Trade Center," or abbreviated, "One World."
It's one of the most impressive memorials and viewing centers I've ever seen. The elevator ride to the top was a 360-HD image of the the city's architecture through time, rising from small buildings to looming skyscrapers. At the end of the lift, as we reached the top and approached 2001, the virtual building is made to look as though it's falling down. It was one of the most powerful 45 second experiences I've ever had. (I happened to take a video of this, and it's included at the end of the post).
Once at the top, there's another theatrical moment where everyone watches images of the city changing, from pictures of the statue of liberty to people walking their dogs in Central Park. I had this overwhelming sense of American pride well up within me. At the end of this montage, they lifted up the screen to the windows behind it, where everyone could see the city from the height of 100+ floors.
It was a "wow" experience.
For me, it was the best way to end this journey around the world, going home to the place that has served as a symbol of life and liberty for people everywhere. It gave me the sense of the "melting pot" that our country has grown from, which I've seen firsthand now and brought back with me into this place.
What began as an tragic act of terror has now been reborn into a great memorial, reminding us that we, as Americans, are part of One World.