Sixteen Years Later | 9/11 Memorial Museum

I’ll admit I have been avoiding this post. Heck, it’s been nine months since I visited the museum! I had no plans to publish this on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that struck our home soil on 9/11, or at all, but as rain started falling at home on what started out as a 90 degree day, the words formed and I felt the urge to write. Maybe it’s because of the unexpected weather changes effecting my emotions, or the similarity raindrops have to tears.

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Everyone remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. I was eight years old and wandered into the living room after hearing my dad yell down the hall for my mom to “come look at the tv, quick!”. I never saw the television screen or what caused their faces to turn so pale before they hustled me back to my room and said I should keep playing, despite it being a school morning.

Ten years after the attack, the 9/11 Memorial Museum opened to the public. It sits under the ground where the Twin Towers once stood tall and is now marked with two infinity fountains in their places, inscribed with the names of that day’s victims.

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There is nothing quite as heart wrenching as standing inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum; in the space that used to be the basement floors of the Twin Towers. It’s a little bit suffocating, almost as if the anguish and pain of those who passed away that day is trapped between the walls.

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The Survivor Stairs- located at the northernmost edge of the World Trade Center Plaza, this staircase withstood the collapsing of the Towers and provided an escape route to those inside.

The museum has an extremely well thought out floor plan, with individual tributes to all who perished in the attack, a minute by minute timeline of all four plane hijackings, a historical detailing of the terrorist group and prior attempted attacks on the World Trade Center, as well as a segment dedicated to how New York City is rebuilding today, despite the destruction.

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The Last Column- eight months after the terrorist attack, the last remaining piece of the Towers was excavated and driven out on a flatbed, followed by bagpipers playing Amazing Grace. This event on May 28, 2002 served as a turning point in the recovery in NYC.

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The Miracle Cross- a bucket list item of mine, these steel pillars stood above the rubble in the shape of a cross

At the very end of the museum you step onto a rising escalator while a choir sings “Amazing Grace”, like an escort of angels accompanying you to the Heavens.

I cannot express how important I believe it is to pay a visit to this museum. If you don’t have the time to commit to touring its exhibits, you can walk through plaza, between the fountains that pay tribute to the victims of the attack and crane your neck upwards to gaze at the Freedom Tower. Officially known as One World Trade Center, the skyscraper stands at the same height as the North Tower, reaching 1,368 feet, with the additional height of its spire making it 1,776 feet — in honor of the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Sixteen years later and New York City has rebuilt, recovered and remained patriotic and strong.

To all the heroes and victims of the tragic events, may you rest in peace.

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