The bustling city is roaring with the blaring of horns and thunderous voices of the crowd. It’s a typical day in New York City: overflowing with its accustomed organized chaos. But slowly, things change. Phones stop working, credit card machines quit.
Like a slowly leaking faucet, news starts to come out about the cause of the havoc afoot. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center have been hit in the first terrorist attack on American soil by an entity outside of the U.S. in the 21st century. The buildings are falling, Al-Qaeda has made its first move, and the only way out is by foot.
Fast forward 13 years to Sept. 11, 2014. Students and staff of Florida Gulf Coast University gathered at the Arts Complex to commemorate 9/11. For the past two years, FGCU dance instructor Lynn Neuman has hosted the “Walk of Remembrance” to give participants a brief moment of silence to get back in touch with the nation’s past.
“I feel like in our society we don’t often take the time to just stop and reflect on things that have happened and where that leads us,” said Neuman of the event’s purpose.
“Walking is a meditative practice; I think it’s easier for me and a lot of people in our society to be able to be silent and thoughtful while walking … to do an activity helps get to that state of mind.”
The event itself is symbolic in many ways; the walk lasts for about 40 minutes representing the amount of time it took for the second tower to fall once it was hit. According to Neuman, participants also take roughly one step for each of the almost 3,000 people who died in the attacks. Furthermore, participants walk in two lines to symbolize the two towers. Within these lines, hands are placed upon the shoulder of the person directly in front. The group is led by two people in any direction, free to disband at any moment by stepping aside and moving behind. There is no talking.
“You just feel the other person’s energy,” Neuman said.
It was all a matter of remembrance and reflection — slowing down and looking at why our nation is the way it is today with no distractions. Because no matter what way it is put, our reality today is the result of what became of us yesterday.