Brooklyn Bridge, Pier 17, Ground Zero, Battery Park, Vietnam Memorial, FREAKY PHONE CALL!

Thursday was a LOOOONG day. We left in the morning and headed straight for Brooklyn. We got off the subway and found the Brooklyn Bridge and wandered across it. It was cool, and I’m sure it would have been even cooler if they weren’t doing construction along the bridge. I don’t know how many of you have actually walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, but it wasn’t really all that impressive in my opinion. Granted, I grew up with the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge in the SF bay. The architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge is gorgeous, but I don’t like that the walkway is in between the two directions of traffic. No matter which side you turn to, you see cars. I like that the Golden Gate Bridge has the walkways on the edge of the bridge. You can turn to one side and see the cars, and the other side shows you a beautiful view of the Bay or the Ocean. And the bikers and walkers are separated by more than a line on the Golden Gate, where there are two almost indistinguishable lanes on the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my time crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. It was awesome. And I’m glad I’ve done it. But now I’ve done it and I don’t feel like I need to do it again (unless of course someone wants to visit and really wants to cross it? In which case, I’m all for it!).

After we got across the Brooklyn Bridge, we went to Pier 17, which was sort of like a wanna-be Pier 39 meets a mall. It was a great place to catch some sun and get some food, and I enjoyed wandering through the area. We found this really cool shower curtain that I will eventually buy for my home one day. It was just a plastic one, but it had my favorite poster of all time on it…yes, that’s right the same favorite poster of like any girl that’s gone through college…the Times Square kiss between a sailor and a nurse. We also found a spork with a handle that extends to be two feet long…freeloaders everywhere, rejoice! Now you too can steal soup from someone. Which raises a question…if you had to choose one utensil to use for the rest of your life, would a spork even be in the running?

After Pier 17, we wandered back towards Manhattan and ended up St. Paul’s Chapel, which was right by the World Trade Center, and served as a rest and food location for all of the workers who came to help after the 9-11 attacks. Many of the memorials inside had my eyes watering, and I was very close to crying several times. It was an emotionally charged space, and I could still feel the love and patience that the volunteers gave almost 10 years ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost the 10th anniversary. I still feel like it was just last year when Mommy woke me up and had me watch the news with her on that September morning. I remember feeling a little numb. I was confused, and didn’t fully grasp what was happening at the time, and I still don’t. But I do know what happened afterwards, and I was never so proud to be an American as I was when I saw the love and commitment and the pride that filled the hearts and souls of Americans after the attack. I miss the days where everyone had the American flag on their car and in front of their house. Where people said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang loudly about America and how amazing it was. Where people came together to support and love one another.  How far we have come since then. I recently read a study in one of the morning papers here in NYC about the attack. With the tenth anniversary quickly approaching, newspapers asked people from the five Burroughs how safe they feel. It turns out that over half of the population in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan feel safe. However, 60% of the people in the Bronx (where I live), are still worried about a possible attack.

As we wandered along the construction fences that surround Ground Zero, I found myself excited. Rather than leaving the gaping hole alone, it’s being developed into a memorial. We will be able to have a beautiful place to go and remember those who died on that September day. We will be able to show that America is still a strong and beautiful country that can overcome adversity, and we will show that we can come back as a strong united People despite adversity.

We walked from Ground Zero back to the water to see Battery Park. There was a WWII-esque memorial there, listing hundreds of names of people who were in the army during 1941-1945 period. From there, we wandered over to the Vietnam Memorial, which was a striking place. There were quotes on the wall from the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war, and I cried when I read an excerpt from a soldier to his mother…”Mother…I am cursed…I’m a soldier when soldiers aren’t in fashion.” It saddens me to think that there are times when people who stood on the line for their country, serving their president, whether they agreed with him or not, were chastised and hated. I know that it must happen even today, but I hope that I will never be guilty of such a heinous act.

After a few more moments of reflection there, Chris and I headed home for Jenni’s meatloaf and homemade mac and cheese. And we settled down for what I hoped would be a relaxing evening.

And it was, until I decided to go to bed. As I reached for my phone to put it in airplane mode for the evening, it rang. A blocked number. Thinking it was my mom on the house phone, I answered, only to be greeted by some girl saying “God does not exist. He created homosexuals like you. If he existed he would never have done that…” the rant went on for about 5 minutes and I sat there listening quietly, and praying in thanksgiving to God for what I had read earlier in the Bible. When she was done, I calmly asked her if she would like a response. She said yes, and I told her that the Bible talks about several sins, and that homosexuality might be among the list there, but that lying and pride are also sins, and in the eyes of God they are just as severe. I asked her to think about her own actions and to work on fixing those instead of accusing other people of various sins. Then I told her I hope she has a wonderful life and hung up. Moments later, my phone rang again…blocked number. I debated about answering it, but I didn’t have anything else I wanted to say to her or that I could say to her calmly, so I let it ring. Then, there was a voicemail. I listened to it, and it was a deep voice saying “Hello Satan.” I erased the message and got down on my knees and prayed for those who had called my phone and prayed that God would grant me the ability to overcome my sins and stay true to his word. I asked God to take away my hurt and asked that he bless Karen Kingsbury, as it was her book “Learning” that led me to 1 Timothy that day and gave me the courage to stand up for God’s children. I was still a little shaken so I called home to talk to my mom, but she was out so I told my brother about what had happened. It was an unnerving experience and I hope no one else has to suffer through it or a similar experience.

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