Two more days to go, and then it would be time to leave. I couldn't think of returning home without visiting the 9/11 Memorial.
Here we go, back on the train....this time we have to transfer to the E train at 51st Ave and ride it to the last stop.
I wasn't sure how my emotions would hold up visiting the memorial, but I felt the need to go.
September 11, 2001, a day I will never forget. It was a Tuesday morning, when 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers (8.46am the first plane struck the north tower), another into the Pentagon, and the other in western Pennsylvania. A total of 2,977 people were killed, including more than 400 first responders who died performing their duty. So many innocent lives lost....so tragically.
I must pre-warn you.....I took over 100 photos, but I won't show them all here....just enough to tell my story...I promise you.
I didn't have to ask for directions to this landmark. All I did was follow the other tourists as they made their way there.
On the way, I passed the FDNY memorial wall at the FDNY Ten firehouse across the street from where the World Trade Center once stood.
A six-foot high bronze bas-relief dedicated to the 343 firefighters who gave their lives that day in an effort to save others is fastened to the exterior wall of the firehouse.
"Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on. May we never forget."
Bronze Memorial Wall Plaque dedicated to the fallen firefighters
The immense sculpture traces the timeline of the attacks from the impact of the planes to the completion of recovery efforts at the site.
It was hard to capture, since there were many visitors who were trying to take photos as well.
Image borrowed from Google images to give an idea of the complete plaque.
“Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on. May we never forget.”
On either side firefighters are depicted laying out hoses, washing their faces at a hydrant along with a poignant scene of a weary firefighter reaching skyward.
The central panel shows the flaming towers after they were struck.
The plaque is fifty-six feet long.
Read more here.
The construction of the One World Trade Center and the complex still continues, and the way to the memorial is down a covered and enclosed walkway snaked around the construction site.
Many informational reminders along the walkway.
There is a long line and only a certain number of visitors are allowed in to the memorial at a time, so it does not become overcrowded.
There is no set fee, and donations must be placed in the jar ($5.00 and up) before a Visitor Pass is issued.
More security checkpoints, and then after a walk through a barricaded area, you emerge into a lovely park surrounded by buildings and skyscrapers, including the new One World Trade Center.
The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center are no more, but they have been replaced by two memorial pools that have been set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers....exactly where they stood.
Through an international design competition with designs from 63 countries, the design by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was chosen for the Memorial. It was opened on the 10th year of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The memorial pools (North and South) are comprised of thirty foot waterfalls (the largest in North America) which cascade into the pool and then descend into a center void. The names of the victims are inscribed on the bronze edges of the pools.
Surrounding buildings reflected in the water of the pools
Detail of the pools
The engraved names are on the outer edges, then a tray of still water which then disappears over the side 30 feet below into the void in the middle.
As expected, there were several loved ones visiting and paying their respects to those lost in the tragedy.
Roses and flags adorned the names of loved ones
Interactive Memorial Guides
to help you find your way around and to locate the names on the pools.
Plan of the 9/11 Memorial Pools
The North Pool is dedicated to:
World Trade Center North (1,470 names)
February 26, 1993 (6 names)- bombing in below ground garage
Flight 11 - American Airlines (87 names)
The South Pool is dedicated to:
First Responders (441 names)
World Trade Center South (695 names)
Flight 93 - United Airlines (40 names)
Flight 77 - American Airlines (59 names)
Pentagon (125 names)
Flight 175 - United Airlines (60 names)
Detail of the names on the South Pool
All of the trees in the Memorial Park are swamp white oaks. There is one exception however....The "Survivor Tree."
The tree was planted near the eastern edge on the original World Trade Center Plaza in the 70's.
After the attacks, it was reduced to an 8ft tall stump. After being nursed back to health, it was returned to the WTC site and positioned a little way from the south pool, a true testimony of the importance of resilience and survival.
They were busy working on the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which will open in Spring 2014.
The Memorial Museum is located seven stories underground, and will tell the story of the 9/11 attacks in the debris recovered from the site afterwards.
In the footprint of the North Tower will be a memorial exhibition which will include artifacts like the Survivor's Staircase" (folks used the stairs to run to safety), as well as the intact shell of Engine 21 fire engine.
In the footprint of the South Tower will be an historical exhibition which will also feature oral histories from survivors and first responders, as well as mementos from the Twin Towers.
I took a quick peep through the multi-faceted windows to view the progress.
An interesting video about the Memorial Museum here.
There are lots of stories circulating the internet indicating that the terrorist attacks were a US government conspiracy. I for one would hate to think that this is true. To offer up so many innocent lives just to satisfy a need to show authority in the world is beyond my comprehension.