Adventures in New York: The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. People come from everywhere to see the sights and sounds, maybe eat a hot dog or two. One of the poignant places to be is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. I first visited New York in high school. It was May 2001 and I was on a field trip. We were only there for the afternoon and my friends and I were at the World Trade Center. We discussed going up but we didn’t have a lot of time and it would take, like, 15 minutes each way. We opted against it, we had a train to catch. I wish we had. I, like, most vividly remember where we were when the towers came down. I had been to the area over the years and slowly saw Battery Park come back to life. This past September, I went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for the first time. I went again the following month with my brother. I cannot recommend it enough!

I highly recommend buying your tickets online a head of time. The lines get very long and it will save a ton of time. Most importantly, you need to be emotionally prepared. It is an incredibly moving experience and I cried…a lot. Now I know you maybe think, well Kelly seems to cry at most things, happy and sad, based on her posts. This is true. But when you walk into the museum, the first thing you encounter is a wall with missing posters projected. That is in the lobby. That’s as far as I made it before I broke down.

As you go through the museum, they have various parts of the original building. The most striking is a wall with blue papers and a Virgil quote. The blues represent the clear blue sky of the morning. Behind the wall is a massive tomb. It is heartbreaking. There are beams and a damaged firetruck. You then enter the museum space. If there is a leaf next to a name, it means the did not make it. To see the mundane of every day life on display really brought the event and those who lived home. There is a room with all the photographs of those who died on September 11 (at all locations) and the previous attack on the WTC. There is an interior room where those who knew the victims share stories. If you weren’t crying before, you will be. If you didn’t bring kleenex, there are stands placed throughout.

Outside, you will see the memorial. It is the footprints of the original building site. The thing that struck me as how small building were. When you see a skyscraper, the base seems so huge, but really is just a building. You will see flowers on top of names, left by loved ones. You will also come across white roses. Those are to celebrate the dead’s birthday. It is a lovely touch. I have seen a lot of memorials, but I think this is the most moving. It took what makes the Vietnam Memorial so iconic and created a space where people can go and remember.

The new Freedom Tower, or One World Trade Center, is now open. It is a very cool building. When my brother visited, we decided to go to the top. I am afraid of heights, so was a bit nervous, but I was fine. The viewing is on par with the other observation decks (Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center). While it was fun, I prefer the view from the Empire State Building. In addition, the glare is really bad and makes it difficult to take photos. If you are going to visit, make sure to do it at night. Seeing NYC lit up is something to see!

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