We got on the train at Hempstead, and we got into the city at around 4:45 in the afternoon. It was really incredible, because I had seen these buildings be constructed for years, and then I was at the base of One World Trade Center, and I looked out on the reflecting pools, and I looked at the familiar scenes, and I got very emotional, for the first of many times on this trip.
We then entered into the museum, and the first thing you see are the old tridents that used to line the base of both towers. We then walked down the large ramp that takes you down to bedrock. The first artifact that you see is the dedication plaque that survived the collapse of the towers. It shows you some steel, some pictures, and all of the missing person posters. The ramp itself overlooks the large sitting area underground, that has the Slurry Wall, which holds back the Hudson River, and the "Last Column", which I will talk more about later in the post.
Then you arrive at the 'Survivors Staircase', which was connected to the plaza of the World Trade Center, next to Five WTC, and it helped in the evacuations that saved thousands of lives that day.
We then saw the Virgil quote on the wall with blue tiles, made to look like the clear blue sky on that day, with each tile representing a person lost in the attacks. Then we saw some artifacts, like the half of the ball that dropped in Times Square on December 31st, 2001, with the victims that were known dead at the time names inscribed. Then there was some paintings, some murals, some more steel, and then you see the actual pieces of steel still in the ground that were the beginnings of the columns that used to stretch a quarter of the mile into the sky.
There is a flag that was made up of other smaller American flags from around the country. Then, there is some brief history on the construction of the buildings, and what they used to be like, and what the site was like, before the construction even began. Then in the base of the fountain of the South Tower, there are the pictures of everyone lost in the September 11th, 2001 attacks, and the six people lost in the February 26th, 1993 bombing. There are some artifacts from a few people in there, including the man that I knew from my father and two uncles company in Hempstead, Durrell V. "Bronk" Pearsall Jr.
After that you walk past the Virgil quote, you will see three artifacts, you see a part of the Antenna of the North Tower, then you see the mangled Ladder 3 truck, and right behind that a mangled and crushed up elevator motor.
Then across from all of that, in the base of the North Tower reflecting pool, is the main exhibit, which describes 9/11 in detail, with thousands of artifacts. I lost it a few times in here, not going to lie here. Remember, there are thousands more artifacts in this museum that what I wrote about. I am just writing down here, the things that I remember, and that struck me as important. The exhibit starts off showing what the city was preparing for, on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, Primaries Election Day for the Mayor of New York City.
It then shows 8:46, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. It shows things like the Naudet's camera that captured the famous footage of Flight 11, some radios, and some bags. Then it shows some tickets for the South Tower Observatory that were sold for 9:00 A.M. Then you hear some phone calls from passengers on the plane and some from workers in the North Tower.
It then takes you to 9:03, when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. It shows the pandemonium, and how the climate changed from accident to purposeful. Then it shows you 9:37, when the Pentagon was hit by American Airlines Flight 77, which had artifacts, like some children clothes recovered from the scene, a clock frozen in time, pieces of the Pentagons facade, and two airplane windows.
Then came the hardest part for me, when there was a short film about the 'Jumpers', the people that had no other choice, but to jump a thousand feet to their death, instead of being burned alive. There were these totally optional short films all throughout the exhibit.
Then it goes to 9:59, when the South Tower collapsed, and it shows all the shoes that were left behind in order to run from the cloud of debris. It then talks about the brave passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, who took the plane back, and made it crash into a field, instead of a target in Washington D.C.
It then goes to 10:28, when the North Tower collapsed, and it showed all the personal remnants of people, like badges, and ID's of lost souls. There is also an ambulance and another firetruck that was destroyed. It then shows the rest of that day, and then goes an interesting way. It goes to a section about Pre-9/11. It shows the only remaining construction model of the World Trade Center in the world. It then shows all the times that the World Trade Center was featured in pictures, or a film, or a music video, or any type of media for that matter.
There there is a section on the February 26th, 1993 bombing. It remembers those six people, and one unborn child that was killed that day. Then there is the only piece that was ever found of the old memorial to those victims, that was found on the old Austin J. Tobin Plaza of the World Trade Center. It then winds down through the times after that and the planning of the 9/11 attack. It very lightly highlights that touchy subject.
It then winds down time back to 8:46, when it then shows a still of the Naudet film right at the moment of impact of Flight 11. Then it goes to After-9/11, which focuses on the cleanup efforts, and the coming back time of New York City. It has a lot of steel artifacts, including the famous Ground Zero Cross. It shows a small part of the old sphere sculpture, of which they have a small Pre-9/11 model in the lobby of the museum on display. There are things like an old store front that used to be in the underground mall of the World Trade Center, still covered in soot, and signage from those stores.
It then ends with the now times, showing the sign that used to be in front of Ground Zero, that used to read the time since 9/11 that Osama Bin Laden was still alive, and on it, you have a one word sign, duct-taped to it, that simply reads 'DEAD'. It then very lightly mentions the conspiracy theories that surround the day, and the ludicrous nature of them.
Then when you exit that exhibit, you walk right out and are greeted by the Last Column, but a huge wall behind it, with one small display case. In that case, is the shirt that the Navy SEAL was wearing, when he killed Osama Bin Laden. I clapped for that shirt, and got real types of emotional there. Then came the last column. It has spray painted on it, the numbers of civilians, NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority, and certain fire and police companies, that were lost that day. It also has some pictures of people still taped on it. Then came what I thought was the coolest thing in the museum, which was the "Single Pane". The only pane of Twin Tower glass, out of over 40,000, that survived the collapse of the World Trade Center. It was from the 82nd Floor of the South Tower.
After that, there was nothing else to see, so we went up the escalator, with the sounds of very peaceful music, and walked back out onto the plaza, and stood at the reflecting pools for a while. Since everyone was so depressed, I started cracking jokes to get people to laugh, and it worked. We then got back on the train to Brooklyn, and went to Juniors for dinner and cheesecake.
It was a great time, and I want to thank my Professor, Dr. Julie Byrne, and my classmates, Chris, Ben, Caitlyn, and Tyler, also with the help of her two aides, Venae and Melody, for a very memorable trip! It was so breathtaking!
Also it goes without saying, that I want to thank all those who made the ultimate sacrifice that day, and that they showed the world the immense amount of courage that this city has to offer. And also, I want to remember all those that were lost in the entire attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Shanksville, PA, and all those on the planes. They will never be forgotten!
I hope that this was a good read, and that you all 'enjoyed' it as much as possible! I will be putting a lot of my photos down below, to show you what I mean about how powerful this place was. You are not allowed to take photos of the main exhibit under the North Tower, or of the faces exhibit in the South Tower, so there are none there. I will be covering this again, during 9/11 week, for a Turnstile NYC Thursday later on.
Would you want to go to the Memorial and / or Museum? Would you be able to handle going there, or cry like I did a few times? Did you lose anyone that you knew during the attacks, or were you affected in any way?
Quotes of the Day: "No day shall erase you, from the memory of time." - Virgil
"Quality is never am accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort." - John Ruskin
"A man must not deny his manifest abilities, for that is to evade his obligations." - William Feather
"The best proof of love, is trust." - Joyce Brothers
"Freedom of the Press, is only guaranteed, to those who have one!" - A.J. Liebling