Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson, 1998
World Trade Center Twin Towers, New York City, April 1998
It was April 1998, when my husband, Wayne and I took this vacation, and these pictures. We flew into New York City to Laguardia airport on a weekday, picked up a rental car and traveled north up to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, across upper New York to Niagara Falls, down through Pennsylvania, in to Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware and back into New York City and Staten Island before leaving for home from Laguardia. It was a whirlwind trip in nine days as we covered all of the upper northeast and New England from the east side to the west and back again in a loop.
While in New York City those final three days we took a ferry-boat over to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Battery Park. As we toured scenic sights of Manhattan taking pictures we stood in front of a memorial at Battery Park dedicated to the early immigrants who came ashore to the U.S., processed through Castle Gardens there before Ellis Island opened up in 1892. It was a very emotional time for me as I walked about that park, looking up at the Statue of Liberty and wondering what the immigrants thought, what they saw when arriving through the portals of our country’s immigration processing centers.
My grandfather and his family were Germans who came over from Odessa, Russia, and were processed through Castle Gardens like thousands of others. Enduring hardships, making sacrifices to come over to America immigrants by the thousands came over on ships, hopeful to begin a new life here. They were as diverse in color of skin, religion, faith, occupation, and status in life as those in our country today. But, the one thing that bound them all together was their desire to begin a new life in a better place than the one they had come from, and live it in freedom away from tyranny, and anarchy. Poor, destitute, seeking a new life in a country offering so much, to those having so little, they came, hopeful, committed, and excited to become an American.
New York was at that time the primary gateway into America. The hope of prosperity, the right to choose their own destiny, occupation and the promise of an education gave them a sense of purpose without rules and regulations enforced upon them by a dictator.
My grandfather was only three years old when they immigrated. His greatest dream was to become a naturalized citizen and vote in a real election for his country’s president. He worked hard, got an education and cherished every day and moment he had in life to be all he could be with God’s help.
As I stood in front of Battery Park taking pictures I was amazed at how tall and large the Twin Towers of the WTC were, as they towered above all other skyscrapers in Manhattan. Such a stark contrast to all the rest of those in the skyline they were like beacons to our country’s business district, icons of the American dream of success.
Who would have believed that just a few short years later we would see the annihilation and obliteration of the World Trade Centers’ Twin Towers, and attempts made to destroy our country’s capitol, and the pentagon as well? The horrific event on September 11, 2001 killing almost 3,000 people will live forever in our memory and hearts.
As Americans we owe a debt we can never repay to our military servicemen and women for what they did so we can have this freedom. Having fought, or died in wars protecting it we can only support them, honor them, pray for them, and thank them for their sacrifice, and service. This is my way of paying tribute to them, to our firefighters, and police officers for what they did then, and do now to protect our lives and freedom here in the U.S.
May we never forget.
I am re-posting this blog post today, in commemoration of the fourteenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York city.
Joyce E. Johnson (2015)