Recently, we headed over to the new 9/11 Memorial, which had just opened the weekend before. We purchased our tickets ahead of time online, so we got to skip the lines, which we’d recommend.
I’ll start by saying I had mixed feelings about visiting. I didn’t necessarily know what to expect or how to prepare for it. Of course September 11 is never far from any American’s (and especially any New Yorker’s) mind, but to be confronted with it so full-on — I just didn’t know how I’d react.
The museum is laid out in a pretty open format, with timelines and some personal stories and a video on how the memorial was made, along with other odds and ends, scattered about. The guts of the memorial, though, lies in a separate showroom that you line up to get into. A sign outside warns that images may be too scary or sad for kids under 10, and they aren’t kidding — the images were too sad for me at points.
The memorial to the actual day (and the aftermath and lead up to the attacks and to the victims … this section goes on and on and on) doesn’t allow photography, but any and everything you can think of that might have to do with 9/11 — it’s here, in this showcase. Voicemails left on family member’s phones from people who were on the doomed flight that crashed in Pittsburgh. The police and fire dispatch from the day. Recordings of firsthand accounts from both First Responders and survivors from both of the towers. Photo after photo after photo of the destruction.
To be honest, at times it was too much, and I had to pause to catch my breathe.
We spent the better part of three hours here, and still I can’t say I saw everything they had on display.
^^ The very first thing you’ll see when you come in is this flight map showing
the trajectories of all of the planes, along with a quick timeline.
I caught the revolving quotes from survivors and victim’s family members on one that captures the entire event so completely: “I couldn’t wrap my head around how anyone could do this.”
This touched me perhaps the most out of everything I saw. The quote in and of itself is powerful, and the blue stickies, each a slightly different shade, are artists’ renderings of what they remembered the color of the sky to be from that day. Remains from unidentified victims lie behind the wall.
Outside, two beautiful waterfalls are surrounded by the names of those who lost their lives that day.
When we left, the sun was just setting, and mixed with the skyscraper buildings and the clouds in the sky, I don’t know … whether you believe in a God or not, I think we all can agree that the friends and family who lost loved ones all deserve something to hold on to.