The Skyline I Know

As my family was passing over the Whitestone Bridge last week, I noticed how beautiful the New York City skyline was. I have seen the skyline quite a bit in my lifetime, yet every time I see the city, I can’t help but be amazed by it.

Whenever New York City is depicted on TV or in a movie, my mom always refers to it as “her city.” After all, she spent her whole life there before getting married and moving Upstate with my dad. Anytime the skyline was featured on screen we’d hear “oh there’s my city!”

And this is the sentiment of every New Yorker. After spending a couple months there this summer, I get it. It’s the sentiment of anyone when they see an image of their home–whether a giant metropolis or small farm town.

It is pride. And New York pride is like no other.

The skyline of my “mom’s city” was a skyline defined by the Twin Towers.

As we were crossing over that Whitestone Bridge, I realized that the skyline I have come to know, however, is with One World Trade Center. The skyline that I may one day refer to as “my city” is not the same one that my mom thinks of when she closes her eyes to remember her home.

And this got me thinking, remembering, reflecting.

With this time passing forward, we cannot forget – and I say this as someone who was just a child in 2001.

With a world that has become the world it is today – one that has seen horrific terror attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters – it’s hard to remember a time when tragedy was not on loop in the 24/7 news cycle, when tragedy wasn’t the norm. As a child in the early 2000’s, this is the norm to us.

But we have to remember September 11, 2001 – really remember what it means.

Every time I look to see the skyline and see One World, I’m reminded that the city my mom called home was devastated sixteen years ago.

More importantly, I’m reminded of the city’s strength sixteen years ago when faced with this devastation. This entire country was defined by its strength sixteen years ago – by every hero whose life was put on the line that day, and on the days and years following.

And for that I am so proud and grateful to live here.

I love the 2017 skyline because that is the city I know, but the history of New York City is not lost on the beauty of how it stands today.

The skyline I know is one that was rebuilt without fear. It is one that I can look at and know just how resilient New York is.

Sixteen years ago, our country was attacked. And sixteen years ago our country proved how strong and beautiful it is – and still is today.

– Rachel


A Little Respect: An Open Rant About Personal Expression

I refuse to be silenced from sharing my beliefs and values for fear of being shamed or condescendingly put down. I have been raised to accept people who hold a different perspective than I, and to listen respectfully to their opinions. With this in mind, I don’t take ignorance lightly.

Recently I have noticed backhand comments that honestly make me sometimes feel belittled for having certain political and religious beliefs. As someone who wholeheartedly believes in everyone’s right to their own values and opinions, I also believe in the respect that should in turn be given to each party involved in the conversation or forum. I believe in the necessary phrase, “let’s agree to disagree.”

I am no better than anyone I encounter who shares a different opinion. But remember that you too are no better for yours. I have the utmost respect for people who have enough confidence to express themselves and their beliefs (particularly when they may be unpopular beliefs) because I know for a fact I don’t always have the ability to stand up and share mine when there is the fear of being judged.

We live in a country where you can and should have diverse sets of beliefs, but shouldn’t have that fear of being categorized or generalized into certain stereotypes. Maybe it’s an idealistic concept, but I just wish everyone could feel the same respect when sharing their values as I hope I give people when listening to their opinions. 

And end rant.. for now.