Tuesday, March 27, 2012
911 National Memorial - December 2011
On September 11th, 2011 I watched (as I am sure you did as well) the memorial events of that day and the opening of the 9/11 memorial at the WTC site. I knew that day that I wanted to go there.
You may or may not be aware, but you have to make reservations and because it was so new, it was very hard to find a date that was open. I also wanted to find a date that was in December so that I could go and see the Rockafeller tree. I made a reservation to go to the memorial before I even booked my airline ticket.
The day that we went to the memorial it was a very sunny brisk December day in New York City. The Church that stood amongst the horror of the day is now a museum and has historical artitfacts from that infamous day in history (http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/congregation/spc/)
After stopping there we went to the 911 Memorial visitors centre (http://www.911memorial.org/) which feels almost like a sales office for a condo or home developer, but that is where you pick up your tickets and make a donation if you wish (the memorial is free, but donations are accepted to keep it running).
And then you have to follow the signs to the site. It is a long walk through a maze of contruction of the new World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) and all the buildings going up around the site. The locals no longer call the site "Ground Zero", they call in the World Trade Center site. The Freedom Tower is rising up out of the downtown core - over 70 stories high and will be 1776 feet when it is complete (http://www.nyc-tower.com/). The Freedom tower is actually 1 World Trade.
Once you go through the long lines, many security check points, metal dectectors and more, you are finally inside the memorial. It is hard to explain how you go from the loudness of the construction, the streets of New York and everything going on outside the fences, into the serenity of the two pools and the water. All you hear is the sound of the waterfalls in the two square pools of the footprints of tower 1 and 2 World Trade. It is quiet and somber and comforting and sad all wrapped into one emotionally filled place of memory.
There are computers on the wall of the visitors centre that are for you to put in a name and it will tell you where to find the person.
The pictures do not do the the waterfalls and the footprints justice. They are HUGE! The waterfalls spoke to me in a way that I hope you can understand by reading these words.
When you see the picture here you can see the waterfall. It has a beginning and an end into the first 'pool'. Then the water falls into the black hole into the centre, and that we can't see where that ends. Because it never ends. To me it represents the 'cemetary' of this sacred place that is the 911 National Memorial.
They will be opening the second part to the memorial on this year anniversary which is an indoor permenant exhibit of artifacts collected at the site. I am not sure if that is something I would go and see personally, but I can understand the people that would. As you can see below, at the visitors site center, they had this captain's hat, shoes and other personal items in a case. It still had dust and debris on it.
I am glad that I made the trip to the site, and I think if you are in New York you should add it to the list of what not to miss.