MJ wanted to go into the Statue of Liberty Crown but apparently it's like the leaning tower of Pisa and you have to book it in advance. The soonest we could get in was Friday. We didn't book it that day and then there were no more available spots after that.
Going to the 9/11 memorial museum wasn't something we'd talked about doing or not doing but when Lady Liberty fell through we decided to go. We took the subway to the World Trade Center and the first thing we saw on our way over is the two square shaped deep fountains side by side where the Twin Towers used to be. Etched on every surface surrounding it are the names of people who lost their lives on 9/11. It's still hard to believe that two giant buildings were there and now they are just gone and it's eerie to know that you are standing in a place where there was so much devastation.
If you book your tickets online or in advance you are given a time frame for which you are supposed to enter and after going through it I know why. There is a lot to take in and they probably don't want traffic flow to clog up. The building itself is huge and dimly lit. There are firetrucks from that day on display and various beams of steel and concrete that survived the blast. At first I didn't think there was going to be much to see because the main building is relatively sparse but once we got started in the exhibition room it felt like there was too much. You can take pictures in the main area but once you get inside the Exhibition room there are no cameras allowed. The memorial is set up sort like a timeline that takes you through all the events leading up to 9/11, what happened with each plane that crashed and then the aftermath. It is comprised of photography, video, audio, wreckage, personal belongings and anything else that tells the story of 9/11. It covers every perspective including the perpetrators, first responders, victims, survivors, families and anyone else that would have a story to tell about that day. I didn't realize that there discreetly placed tissue box stands throughout the exhibit until I needed one. The audio recordings is what really got to me. I heard the voice of a woman calling her husband. Her voice broke as she said she hoped he'd see his face again. She was on one of the planes so she never got to and even now when I think about that it brings tears to my eyes. What really struck me is how calm and matter of fact most of the phone callers from the planes were. I keep thinking I'd be a hysterical nightmare if I was in that situation and part of it has to be that they really didn't know just how dire their situation was. It's dark, quiet and there is so much information that I lost track of time but I think we were in there for a pretty long time. It was major sensory overload. I wanted to see everything but after a while it gets to be too much. It's still so surreal to think back to everything that went into that day. Such evil and misery transpired on 9/11 and it's all there.
|Survivors' Stairs: Many people escaped on these stairs from a building adjacent to the towers|
I felt a slightly conflicted about the whole thing. It felt weird to be interested in going to see it. It was weird listening to voice recordings of people who died, viewing blood stained pumps and ash covered metro tickets. I hadn't seen footage of what happened in a long time. There were videos and photos of the planes crashing into the towers, people jumping out of buildings and recordings of the terrorists voices. It seemed almost wrong to have all of this deeply tragic and personal stuff on display so that people can buy tickets and come look at it. At the same time I think it does need to be presented that way to most accurately convey the events to those who only watched it on TV and to future generations that will only read about it in history books. It was a horrific crime and the memorial preserves and captures it in a way that hits home but is also respectful. That being said, if I had lost someone in 9/11 or had a real life connection to it I don't know how I would feel about going there myself. I'm just not sure I'd want to revisit those emotions in that way but I think it would be comforting to know that it's there. People have to live with the loss of their loved ones every day and the memorial is a way to keep that memory alive not just for those who knew them but for the rest of the world. Mixed feelings aside, I think it was very well done and I am glad we went.
NYC: Live Studio Audience & The High Line