Visiting the September 11 Memorial is an emotional experience, but something that we recommend for anyone spending time in New York City.

 

Visiting The September 11 Memorial

Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the first plane struck the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I was working part-time as a secretary in the English Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I was a freshman. I was in the office and one of the women that also worked there was listening to her desk radio. Suddenly she was turning up the volume and saying, “Oh my God.”

 

The clouds covering the new Freedom Tower reflected my mood as we walked towards the September 11 Memorial

The clouds covering the new Freedom Tower reflected my mood as we walked towards the memorial

 

I have to admit, I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was. Was it an important building? Were there a lot of people there? But the women around me knew. I could tell by their faces. Then the second plane hit the south tower. Then the third plane hit the Pentagon. And then the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

 

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Visiting September 11 Memorial

Some interesting numbers about the World Trade Center

 

They were saying over the radio that it was an attack; that possibly all major cities were being targeted. At that point I was sent home with my head reeling and trying to understand the gravity of the situation. Miami was a major city! What if something was happening back home? I rushed to the nearest pay phone to call my family and boyfriend, not wanting to wait until I got home. None of the calls went through. Everyone was trying to call their loved ones and I’m sure the lines were jammed.

 

Visiting September 11 Memorial

Names of those that died on September 11

 

Over the next few weeks, we were bombarded with the images of the attacks and who was responsible for them. But it wasn’t until years later that I really understood just how severe the attack was. But at the same time, I didn’t understand everything. And I don’t think I ever will. How could someone, anyone, do something so horrible? How could someone willingly cause so much chaos, pain, and destruction?

 

The weather complimented the mood during our visit to the September 11 Memorial

The weather complimented the mood during our visit

 

On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, I sat on the couch watching the commemoration ceremony on TV as victims’ names were read by their families. I was sobbing, my heart hurting for the victims and their loved ones.

 

The reflecting pools at the September 11 Memorial

The reflecting pools

 

All of those feelings rushed back as I first walked up to the September 11 Memorial’s twin reflecting pools on that cold January morning. I touched some of the inscribed names of the 2,983 victims. And again I cried.

 

Can't even imagine the pain this person was feeling when they left this rose at the September 11 Memorial

Can’t even imagine the pain this person was feeling when they left this rose

 

Eventually we made our way to the museum. The artifacts and exhibits inside were really exceptional and I learned even more about both the events and the victims of the attack. It was hard to read some of the witnesses’ accounts and see some of the video footage, but there were strategically placed tissue boxes that were very much appreciated.

 

The iconic trident beams that supported the south tower. They never faltered during the attack.

The iconic trident beams that supported the south tower. They never faltered during the attack.

This Heritage Trail sign, providing historical information, stood at the perimeter of Ground Zero. It was damaged during the attacks, but was repaired and remained in place until 2008.

This Heritage Trail sign, providing historical information, stood at the perimeter of Ground Zero. It was damaged during the attacks, but was repaired and remained in place until 2008.

Known as the "Survivor's Stairs" these stairs and an adjacent escalator had remained undamaged and allowed hundreds to flee to safety.

Known as the “Survivor’s Stairs” these stairs and an adjacent escalator had remained undamaged and allowed hundreds to flee to safety.

One of many fire trucks that arrived on 9/11

One of many fire trucks that arrived

This quilt names every victim at the September 11 Memorial

This quilt names every victim

 

Like I said, it’s hard for me to grasp the kind of evil that took place on September 11th. But what is much easier to understand is the selflessness, strength, human spirit, and resilience that brought together complete strangers after the attacks. Our country was left staggering, but we pulled ourselves up.

 

A flag flies near the museum entrance at the September 11 Memorial

A flag flies near the museum entrance

 

Visiting the September 11 Memorial was something I’ll never forget, and although it can be an emotional experience, I would recommend it to anyone traveling to New York City. We recommend visiting their website for more information.

 

Useful Information For Visiting The Memorial

  • – Visitors can enter the memorial at  the intersection of Liberty Street and Greenwich Street, at the intersection of Liberty Street and West Street, or the at the intersection of West Street and Fulton Street.
  • – The memorial is open daily from 7:30am to 9pm and the museum is open Sunday – Thursday, 9am to 8pm (last entry at 6pm) and Friday and Saturday, 9am to 9pm (last entry at 7pm).
  • – There are 2 free mobile apps you can download (one for the memorial and one for the museum) to learn more about September 11th.
  • – Tickets must be purchased to enter the museum. Adult tickets are $24. Senior (65+), US college student, and US Veteran tickets are $18. Youth (7-17) tickets are $15. Admission is free after 5pm on Tuesdays.
  • – You can take pictures inside the museum, but without flash.
  • – Please remember and respect where you are; keep noise down to a minimum.

 

Have you been to the September 11 Memorial? What were your thoughts?

 

Like this post? Pin it for later!

Visiting the September 11 Memorial is an emotional experience, but something that we recommend for anyone spending time in New York City.