Visiting the 9-11 Memorial

Apr 06

Visiting the 9-11 Memorial

Two weekends ago I was fortunate enough to visit the 9-11 memorial at the site of the World Trade Center.  It is hard to believe that is has been more than ten years since that horrible day in our country’s history.  I was joined on the tour by two of my children, my oldest daughter, Lindsay and my youngest child, Jack.  Jack was only 2 1/2 on 9-11-01 so I think it was really hard for him to grasp fully what the memorial represented.  However, there were still moments of keen impact for him.

To visit the memorial you must make a reservation online and get a ticket for a particular time slot.  Even then the lines are very long.  I think it took us over thirty minutes to snake our way through the line to the security screening area.  I am not sure if this will always be the case but currently you must go through a screening similar to those in US airports removing everything from your pockets and going through a metal detector.  It was an overcast, cook Saturady with the threat of rain in the air.

Along the path to the security screening all you can hear is the jack hammers and shovels of the new construction underway for the foundation of one of the new buildings.  In the distance you can see Freedom Tower rising up.  The Tower construction reached its 100th floor just days after we visited.

We finally made it past the construction and through a maze that opened on to the area that held the Memorial.  Oddly, we could no longer hear any of the construction sounds.  The people who had been chattering in line were suddenly silent and we heard little or no talking as we walked around the two squares of the Memorial.

The Memorial is set up in two squares, one for each of the towers.  Each square has a band with the names of those who died engraved in the band.  The first square is for the South Tower, First Responders and victims from each of the airplanes and the pentagon.  The second square is for the names of those who died in the North Tower.  As with the Vietnam Memorial, it is hard to over state the impact that seeing the actual names of the people who were lost has on you.  We walked around both squares and ready many of the names.  They are group together in the groups they were with when they died – people from offices who worked together, people on the same plane, from the same Ladder or Engine.  We saw names of people who were obviously related – brothers or father and son.  Those were particularly hard to take.  But the most difficult of all were the two my son pointed out of women “and their unborn child”  This is the video of Silvia San Pio Resta and her unborn child.  9-11 Memorial Video

Another thing that really struck me as i walked along looking at the names was the international nature of the attack on these two buildings.  While it was billed by the terrorists as an attack on America, it was clear to me from the names that this was truly an international assault.  The World Trade Center was a place where businesses from all over the world with employees from all over the world came together.

The etching of the names in the Memorial is deep enough that it allows for the stem of a flower to fit inside the lines of a letter in a name.  You can see from the photographs that visitors to the Memorial this spring have inserted daffodils, peonies and roses in the names along the walls. 

Another surprise at the site is the Pear tree that survived the attack and building collapse.  There was a Pear tree at the site of the original buildings that was not destroyed by the collapse of the buildings.  Workers at the site over the years nursed the damage tree and protected it throughout all of the clean up and new construction.  The tree stands alone on the grounds and was blooming beautifully.

 

If you are in New York I highly recommend a visit to the Memorial.  As a nation it is important that we remember these innocent lives that were lost on that terrible day in our history.  As time fades it can be easy to forget.  That day is forever seared in my memory.  Perhaps because I was in Washington, DC and drove past the burning Pentagon but also because this is one of the most significant events of my 50 years.  I hope there will not be a more significant event in my lifetime.  That is one of the main reasons why I think it is so important to remember.

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