On our second day, the first place we headed to was the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which has been at the center of a lot of controversy. It’s an emotional experience as you would anticipate. When you first step onto the plaza, you will probably be facing one of the two enormous reflecting pools where the towers once stood. They each measure about an acre and have 30-foot waterfalls that cascade beautifully throughout multiple levels. As you walk along the perimeter of the reflecting pools, you will notice the names of the victims engraved in bronze on the sides…it was impressive and gave us chills. I would almost say that you feel a presence. Once inside, the feeling of loss becomes increasingly present as you walk through what feels like catacombs. You will see some of the steel beams where the planes hit, and the last one that was found, the 36-foot “Last Column” which became a tribute to all, but especially the rescue workers; it was the biggest urban rescue effort nationwide and most of them died valiantly as they did everything they could to help people get out. You will walk by the wall, referred to as “the bathtub”, that had it collapsed, would have led to downtown Manhattan being under water. You will walk next to the stairs where people were being told to “run fast, as fast as you can”. You will see Brooklyn-artist, Spencer Finch’s, Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on that September Morning, which is an installation comprised of square papers, representing each of the victims, in different hues of blue to represent the color of the sky that morning on 9/11. It was an incredible piece.
There are interactive touchscreen memorials, where you can search for a loved one, hear about them, and see their picture. I chose to filter the search to victims from Florida, where I stumbled upon the picture and history of Bernard C. Brown II…he was from Leckie Elementary School in Tampa. He was 11; born June 19th, 1990. He was on Flight #77 to California because he had been chosen for a trip sponsored by National Geographic to visit a marine sanctuary. I can’t tell you how it felt to see his smiling face and know that he never reached his destination. You can hear about the history of every victim.
I remember that day clearly – my daughter, then 2, sitting on my lap as we and the rest of the country watched on the day that changed our realities forever, and as my family, who worked in the city, walked home to Brooklyn that day as ashes fell on them. Those of us that are old enough to remember, will never forget that day, where we were, what we did, who we lost.
When you go, you don’t need to get an audio guide, just download the free museum app. If you’re a student, take your ID everywhere! If you are family of a victim, your entry is free. Here are the prices: Tickets.
Go to this, it is amazing. Also, make sure you hug your loved ones every day…