Hi everyone! This is Melani this time!
We had another full busy day today in NYC! We did a lot of walking again today, 11.7 miles according to my fitbit! We started off as two groups today. Half of us went to New Jersey to go to Carlo’s Bakery, a bakery featured on the show Cake Boss. The group I went with went for a walk through Central Park. We are staying at the YMCA which is right on the edge of Central Park, so it was a nice way to spend our morning. The weather was really the nicest that we’ve had all week. Here’s a picture we took in Central Park this morning.
After breakfast, we all met up again, we went to GMHC to help out prepare for their annual AIDS walk. This is a big event that takes place every year. It is a huge fundraising event for them, and really builds support and awareness for their cause. Today we helped them by stuffing folders. Every team who requested promotional materials to put out in their organizations in the community gets a folder full of posters, cards to hand out, displays for the cards, and even bookmarks promoting the event. They can request a certain amount of each material, so we went through and basically built their custom orders. It was a pretty cool process. I never really realized how much work went into promoting an event of this size. We did this all day, and STILL had plenty of orders left afterwards. It was really incredible how much work this organization puts into such an important cause.
In the afternoon, we grouped up with our friends with the University of Missouri to work on more folders. They are also here on an Alternative Spring Break Trip, so it was really cool to get to talk with them and make new friends!
After GMHC, we went over to the 9/11 Memorial. That was an incredible experience, to say the least! It was So beautiful and breathtaking, and emotional. There really are not words to describe how it made me feel. The people who designed and built it did an amazing job of preserving the memory of those lost on that day.
I think the most moving part of the whole experience was seeing the names of all the lives lost. It was incredibly sad, and really put the vastness of our loss that our country experienced that day into perspective for all of us. Another inspiring aspect of the memorial is the Survivor Tree.
This is the only tree that survived the bombings. The fact that this tree was able to survive such a traumatic event that brought down two huge metal towers is quite unfathomable. After the fact, conditions were not ideal for this tree, so it needed help to survive. People pitched in and helped it grow. They protected it during the aftermath clean up, they supported it and watered it, and protected it even during construction of the monument. With the love and care of the people around it, this tree was able to overcome the obstacles thrown at it. It is able to thrive and stand tall. That is a very powerful message.