At the 9/11 Memorial

Some loved ones left flowers and some left miniature flags. People flock, read the names that were carved on the long dark bronze blocks and pay their respect. But no matter how many people visit and congregate around the twin giant pools that used to be where World Trade Center buildings or twin towers were, it always feel somber and subdued there. The first time I came to the site of Ground Zero was 6 years after the 9/11 tragedy happened. My parents were visiting from Indonesia and we took them there. There’s still nothing interesting to see but covered wire fences. There were a lot of works happening behind them. The sound from the heavy machineries, the banging of metals and the buzzing from the construction workers all mixed as proof that life still goes on. I felt humble being at the Ground Zero, because a couple years before 2001 I was there staring at the two towers with astonishment of the tallest buildings in the country. My husband and I passed by the area where World Trade Center was for several times when we headed towards Brooklyn. I would open the car window and look at WTC buildings enthusiastically while we passed the lower Manhattan. Who would’ve known that one day those magnificent buildings would be gone.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up on our bed with our oldest daughter who was 2 years old and our baby girl who was 4 months old. They were still asleep soundly and peacefully without any care in the world. I turned on the TV and watched the morning show on NBC, the Today Show. It was sometime after 8AM suddenly Katie Couric, one of the presenters on the show, announced a distressing news: an airplane has crashed into one of the twin towers. I was stunned. But I thought maybe it was an accident until I saw from the live feed another plane flew directly towards the other tower. What has happened? Then, in minutes everything crumbled and fell. Katie Couric was heard crying on air and I had trouble believing what I had saw. My eyes welled up, tears ran down because I imagined the chaos that ensued. I held my daughters closer and I could feel something in the atmosphere was brewing, fear. 

It has been 18 years since the most despicable tragedy I’ve ever witnessed, happened. I can still feel the uneasy feeling when September 11th is approaching. The site where Ground Zero was, now a sprawling park with memorial for the fallen and a museum to commemorate the lost. In November 2017, I took a group of high school students from Indonesia and their teacher to the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. It was the first time I visited the place and I became rather emotional especially when I read the names of the people who perished during the tragedy. My fingers sometime ran through the carved letters on the bronze blocks while I listened to the sound of the man-made waterfall, said to be the greatest in United States. In April this year, I visited the plaza again and that time I was escorting an old friend and his colleagues who were curious about the 9/11 Memorial. They were astounded and again, I somehow lost with emotion when I read a name, a woman’s, with additional statement “and her unborn child”. 

(To all who perished and the first responders, may you rest in peace).

Advertisements

The Year of the Women & the History of Women’s Rights

On November 6th recently, after the midterm election, over 100 women will serve in Congress including 31 new members who come from more diverse background. Among them are two Muslim women, two Native American women and two first African-American women elected to Congress from Massachusetts and Connecticut. The election became a history for my eldest daughter who voted for the first time. At first, she was worried because on the day of election she would be away at her college in Massachusetts. So I helped her getting to know about the absentee ballots. People who can’t come to vote at their local voting stations can send their vote beforehand by mail. My daughter did that. She sent me text telling me that she dropped off the ballot in the mail box in her campus a couple of days before November 6th. I was so proud.

The recent midterm election became more significant because of the situation that we’ve been having for the past two years. I’m not going to indulge in mentioning name or names or whatever that has happened. But making a note about the turn out of the recent election which showed the strength of the women’s voice. It is one of the milestones for American women in the history of fighting for the rights to vote. I somehow connected the midterm election to my experience visiting Seneca Falls where the first Women’s Rights Convention was held. During our trip to Upstate New York a while back, we passed by the town of Seneca Falls. We came there actually to see the Eerie Canal, but we found out that Seneca Falls has important part in the fight for women’s rights. The first Women’s Right Convention was held there between July 19th – 20th, 1848, at Wesleyan Chapel.

When we arrived at the sight where the first convention happened, unfortunately the place was closed. From outside, though, I could see the inside of Wesleyan Chapel where Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Mary M’Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright and Jane Hunt called on women to fight for their Constitutional right to equality as U. S. citizen. They came up with 11 resolutions that demanded women be placed as equal as men. The 9th resolution was viewed as the most controversial, which said,

“to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise or the right to vote”.

However, the women’s fight to get their rights be acknowledged was a long one, especially the fight for the right to vote. From that, women’s suffrage was born. At last, on August 26th, 1920, the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was certified. Then, on November 2nd, 1920, as much as 8 millions women across the country gave their votes in election for the first time. Now, there are more women being elected to sit in the legislative sector in U.S. and that is one achievement the women of Seneca Falls Convention would be so proud of.

The 19th Amendment of U.S. Constitution:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”.

(For my daughters Emily & Audrey).

senecawomen2

senecawomen

senecawomen1

senecawomen4

senecawomen5

senecawomen3

senecawomen6

senecawomen8

senecawomen7

Travel Journal: Harry Potter’s Library at Cornell University

My first thought when I entered this library was that this could be Harry Potter’s library, or Dumbledore’s for that matter. But it’s not. This marvelous library is Andrew Dickson White Library at Cornell University. But by the time you see the pictures I took and post here, you will agree this library could be Harry Potter’s library (minus the flying books). A.D. White Library is a library within a library, it’s located inside Uris Library. My family and I were visiting Cornell and my friend, Danny and his wife, took us to see several point of interests around campus. Uris Library opened in 1891 and among the oldest and beautiful libraries of American colleges. William Henry Miller was the architect who designed the building. It is a magnificent building with a clock tower attached to it that becomes Cornell’s symbol. The McGraw Tower is another point of interest at Cornell that plays chimes concert daily.

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White was co-founder and Cornell University first president. When Harold D. Uris Library was established, White wanted to donate his personal collection of 30,000 books to Cornell. But instead of putting the books into the library’s collections, White wanted his books installed in a special library within Uris Library. He asked the architect, William Henry Miller, to design it. A.D. White Library opened as Uris Library opened. The library is also filled with White’s other collections of artworks, furniture and artifacts that he got from Europe when he was the U.S. Ambassador for Germany and Russia. There are paintings, plaster busts and several plaster casts of European coins and medallions that are placed in a glass case. Uris Library is open from Thursday to Sunday for 24 hoursĀ  for students who want to use the facility. Get that? Open for 24 hours.

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

A. D. White Library is a small library. Its location is rather secluded. We climbed some steps and reached a big door. My friend opened it and we entered another realm. We were floored! We were amazed! My kids were very enthusiastic and in a hushed voice telling me,”This is like Harry Potter’s Library!” There are 3 tiers in the library that were made from wrought iron. These tiers themselves are a work of art. The sun rays that beamed into the room reflected upon the iron frames, fell on the chairs and leather sofa that are placed in front of the windows. The atmosphere was solemn, peaceful and simply just wonderful. It’s very accommodating for whoever needs a place to study. I think I could really enjoy studying there for as long as I want.

Andrew Dickson White Library

Andrew Dickson White Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library

Andrew Dickson White's Library