One of the things that was new to me during our trip to New York City was a visit to the 9/11 Memorial.
Having seen the World Trade Center buildings back in 1999, and then being in NYC in October 2001 and again over NYE that year, seeing the rebuilding and the memorial now at the site of that horrendous and unforgettable terrorist attack felt like the continuation of the recovery from that fateful day.
We were advised to book a time slot to visit online before we go to Lower Manhattan, which was great information, and probably saved us a 90 minute wait in the line at the Preview Site.
The Preview Site is a couple of blocks away from the World Trade Center, and where you get or pick up your timed passes to the Memorial site. Here too is a lot of information about that day in 2001, the timings of the two planes, the crumbling of the 2 tallest buildings of the New York skyline, the the rescue efforts by the first responders, and the recovery mission in the aftermath.
This was actually pretty tough, emotionally, as the interviews being shown told stories of that morning, of lost ones, of trying to find their loved ones, and recounts by firefighters. It brought it all back, for me, and I was on the other side of the world that day. I think this Site should come with a PTSD-trigger warning, for anyone affected directly by the day.
Once through security at the actual Memorial Site, you walk around the construction zone of the rebuilding, and see the presence of the NYPD everywhere. And then you round the corner from being surrounded by buildings and bustle, and arrive within the space where those iconic buildings once were.
There is peace and stillness here. A respectful memorial.
The footprints of the Twin Towers are now pools of cascading water, with bronze parapets all the way around both the South and North towers outlining the names of those who died in these buildings, on the planes here and in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and also those that were lost in the WTC bombings in 1993.
The names are grouped by their role on the day, being office workers in the buildings or personnel responding to the event, to plane passengers, to people in the Pentagon, and are also reportedly ordered by where they were and with whom they were with on that morning.
One of the most powerful elements of the Memorial Site, and a symbol of hope and moving forward, is the Survival Tree. The only tree to be recovered and rejuvenated from the rubble of Ground Zero, this damaged stump has been nursed back to health and transplanted to the site. A symbol of survival and resilience, indeed.
All features of the site are not yet complete, with the buildings all around in different stages of completion, and the Memorial Museum some way off being opened yet.
Through the mirrored windows of the Museum between the two pools you can see one of the steel tridents from the original North Tower - you can just make out the top of the fork in front of the scaffolding. There will be many original pieces recovered from the rubble at Ground Zero.
With the massive and towering 1 WTC already making an impact on the New York City skyline, the images of how this complex will look when complete is pretty amazing. Once finished, this area will have a whole new life to it, with the proposed performing arts centre and pretty 2 WTC. But these 2 cascading pools will ensure we never forget that day that changed the USA forever.