21 Aug 2014
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PHOTOS: The 9/11 Memorial in Silicon Valley

The Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park 9/11 Memorial in San Jose is located at 300 Curtner Ave. and is formed in the shape of an airplane.

I visited the 9/11 Memorial at Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park today on the eve of the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and walked away with a deeper understanding of what I consider the worst nightmare to befall on American soil.

I remember exactly where I was when the first plane struck the first tower of the World Trade Center. I was nine months pregnant with my third child working as an editor for Silicon Valley Community Newspapers.

I was watching the morning news as I always did before leaving for work when I saw the live coverage, the anchorman narrating the events still not knowing that the fire and smoke from the tower was caused by a highjacked plane that had crashed into it.

I continued to watch, mesmerized, contractions beginning due to the shock of what I was witnessing when, right before my eyes, the second plane crashed into the second tower.

I immediately said goodbye to my husband and daughters and rushed for the newsroom, an hour later to realize that both towers had collapsed killing thousands and that another plane had struck the Pentagon and another one had crashed in Shanksville, PA.

On the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, I had the privilege of interviewing Alice Hoagland, mother of Los Gatos 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, killed when his United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists and then crashed in a field near Shanksville.

My understanding of the horror deepened two years ago, but today the effect of the tragedy sunk in a little deeper when I saw the wall at the memorial in San Jose bearing all the names of the nearly 3,000 people who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Sept. 11 Memorial is in the shape on an airplane and at each of its corners, smaller monuments pay homage to those who died aboard American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the towers; American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville.

The memorial's entrance has two flag poles with the California and American flags.

I hope the photos I took today with my iPhone do justice to the Memorial, which I hope everyone has a chance to visit some day.

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