Jen: I know we were in New York to learn, but I felt compelled to make the time to come and see the memorial. I knew someone who died here. I did not know what to expect with my emotions. I was anxious and A LOT of horrible memories came rushing back. Where I was. What time of day. What I was feeling. What I had to say to my group of students that were sitting in front of me.
Roni: When Jen asked if I wanted to visit the 9/11 Memorial I didn’t even hesitate. The answer was yes. I, too, remember exactly where I was, how I felt and who I was with the moment it happend. The confusion, anger and deep sadness still haunts me to this day.
As I stood in line I marveled at the construction of the new buildings.
I’m awe inspired by our progress as a species while horrified at our ability to destroy.
Jen: The buildings that are being built around the memorial are vast. There will be 6 of them . There was a moment when we were looking up at this building while a plane was flying by. Ironic. That’s when my eyes started welling up. I cannot imagine.
Roni: When we got in, I was taken back by the open space. The freshly planted grass. The sound of the water. Jen grabbed a pamphlet and we learned about the Survivor Tree.
Jen: I walked into the park and looked over the edge and the first thing I saw was the hole. All you can do is really …..STAND there. Lost in your thoughts. The amazing thing was that everyone else was doing the same thing.
Roni: And that’s all I really did. Stand There. In a weird way it was calming. Serene. It was the sound of the water. It captivated me
Jen: For me, the water cascading down was beautiful, but the hole in the floor of the memorial made your mouth drop. Who was the genious who thought of this? What an impact on your heart.
Roni: The hole was profound. Such a powerful symbol.
Jen: When you are walking along the wall of names, your hand will naturally want to touch them. I walked and dragged my hand across the names almost like I wanted to feel them. The amount of names is nothing you have even seen. Some names would stop you in your tracks , like a women’s name with the writing “and her unborn child” written behind it. Stopped me.
Roni: I saw two names with “and Unborn Child” and my heart ached. I can’t even begin to explain my feelings especially as I think of my own children.
Jen: Then we spotted a medal that looked untouched. It was the first time that the name was not just a name…it was a real person. You sometimes forget that these names are people that still have children, parents, husbands, and wives that miss them terribly.
Roni: I’m not sure I said more than 3 words as I wondered around the memorial. The names, the medal, sounds of the falling water is was all so overwhelming.
I was also taken back by the diversity that surrounded me. The languages being spoken. The families with children who weren’t born when the towers were struck. Then I realize my kids weren’t born either.
Jen: I decided to start my quest of finding that one name that I was looking for. The names were not in alphabetical order which made it difficult. What we realized afterwards is that the names are listed according to where they worked. The workers are grouped together. The families were asked who they wanted their loved ones name next to…again, lost in thought, I did finally find that name.
Roni: As I walked along I saw this little girl running through the sprinklers on the newly planted grass.
Jen: Being there and watching this little girl run through the water was emotional. She was innocent. She was loving life. She was watched lovingly by her parents.
Just like the people that died here.
Roni: At one point I was watching the water and a pigeon landed right in front of me. She look so small against the backdrop of the memorial just standing there staring at us.
Jen: The pigeon was the ONLY thing standing in the water. He was looking around and drinking . You would think there would be many birds taking advantage this resource, but there was only one. When you are in a place like this, you tend to notice the little things and they affect you greatly.
Thinking of Visiting the Memorial?
- Make sure you reserve your free memorial pass. You will need it to get in.
- If you are looking for a specific name, there are kiosks on the borders where you can print a map to the location.
- The memorial museum is not open yet.
- Make sure you visit the gift shop because it is not just a gift shop. It has memorabilia and a great video.
- If you are looking for a great children’s book to read to your kids, try Fireboat. It is a good read and a great conversation starter. Here are other books we discovered onsite.