To the Heart of It: Memoirs from Ground Zero
In April 2002, I went to New York with four co-workers to volunteer at Ground Zero for a week. At the time I was the director of an AmeriCorps program in Wisconsin. I announced this opportunity to the AmeriCorps members serving in my program and then coordinated the trip for those who were able to come.
I knew this experience would change my life so I brought a journal with me to record my thoughts and experiences. I wanted to remember what it was like when I was there, so I brought the journal with me everywhere I went and wrote in it every opportunity I had. Reading it can be difficult for me, but I do it when I feel the need to reflect. I wanted to write out the notes of my journal because I needed to release my feelings from Ground Zero.
I also felt it was important to share this experience with others. Many of my loved ones asked me what it was like volunteering at Ground Zero but I couldn't verbalize it; this memoir is a recollection of what I experienced while in New York, based on my journal. I changed some of the names to respect the privacy of those I met.
To separate the time I spent exploring New York, and time at Ground Zero, boldface type highlights time spent at Ground Zero.
Because it was such an emotional experience for me, and because I experienced a lot, some details are fuzzy, but this is how I remember New York and Ground Zero. This is my experience, from the bus trip, to volunteering at Ground Zero,and exploring New York.