September 11th – A date that means so many things to so many. It was a moment in time, that if anyone is old enough to remember, will never forget where they were at that very moment.
Last month I had the opportunity to go to New York City for a conference and made a decision that if I had even an hour of down time, I wanted to go back to ground zero. I was there not long after the site was cleaned up in late 2002. It was a hole in the ground; a fenced off memorial with trinkets and photos left by loved ones. It was such a heart wrenching site. I was curious as what it looked like today. I am so happy I did this. It was so profound.
I decided to do the Tribute Center Walking Tour. This tour has guides that are 9/11 survivors, workers who assisted in the recovery efforts, Lower Manhattan residents, or family members that lost loved ones. I can’t for the life of me remember the guide’s name that did my tour. It’s a shame for I wish I would have written it down. He was amazing. He not only shared his experience of the 9/11 attacks, but he was there for the first attack as well in when a truck bomb exploded February 26, 1993. He shared how during the ’93 attack, the electricity was out and the fear and confusion of everyone going down the stairwell that took him 4 hours but other 6. He compared the amount of people getting out during that attack and the difference of those coming down for the second attack on 9/11. There were less people in the stairwell as he walked down over 70 floors. He mentioned watching firefighters going up as he was coming down. Thinking of those that went up never making down. He talked about the smell, the sounds, the fear…it was 95 outside and humid…I had goosebumps the whole time. I was so very moved listening to his story of what he experienced that day.
Walking through National September 11 Memorial & Museum he pointed out where buildings used to be. The park is so well thought out and very peaceful. It’s simply beautiful! There are two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each about an acre in size, set within the footprints of the twin towers. Inscribed on temperature controlled bronze panels lining the two pools are the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 terrorist attacks. Waterfalls cascade down all four sides of each pool, creating a special place for remembrance and reflection. The surrounding plaza is filled with oak trees and a “callery pear” known as the Survivor Tree, which was nursed back to health after surviving the 9/11 attacks.
If you are in New York City, please go check out. The tours run 5 or 6 times a day. Spots are limited. The prices are $20.00 for adults, $15 for students and military. Click here to purchase tickets.
*I went to on the 9/11 Memorial Tour on my own. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions are my own.