Barriers Gone at Ground Zero

NEW YORK – It’s hard to believe that almost 13 years have gone by since that terrible day – September 11, 2001. But while the Freedom Tower will not have its grand opening until later this year and the new St. Nicholas will not be completed until 2016 at the earliest, visitors to Ground Zero will can finally feel some healing and relief, and even wonder and joy, from the buildings, memorials and groves of trees that have been created with great care.

Only a few months ago the realities of an ongoing construction site were still overwhelming. High fences kept the public out – unless they chose to wait on long lines – and the main task of policemen and security guards (who were rarely friendly) was to keep people away from the entrances used by construction workers.

That all changed in May. The fences came down, the guards are now welcoming and New Yorkers and visitors from around the world can marvel, meditate… and remember.

Greek Orthodox Christians now also have an close-up and unobstructed – through a chain link fence that is – view of the place where their new Church will begin to rise as early as September 2014.

Friends and family members will have to wait to be able to light candles in St. Nicholas, but now everyone can just walk up the the granite that surrounds the magnificent memorial fountains at the heart of the complex – and touch the names of those whose lives were lost but whose memories live on.