I wasn’t going to check out the 9/11 Memorial whilst I was in NYC but something compelled me on my second last day in the city to do so. Perhaps I was nervous of what I may feel when I was there?
When I did arrive I had to undergo a pretty fierce screening process before I entered the 9/11 Memorial. Once I was in – I didn’t expect to feel such a powerful presence embrace me.
The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.
The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker created the Memorial design selected from a global design competition that included more than 5,200 entries from 63 nations.
The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.
The Memorial Plaza is one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed. More than 400 trees are planned for the plaza, surrounding the Memorial’s two massive reflecting pools. Its design conveys a spirit of hope and renewal, and creates a contemplative space separate from the usual sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.
Swamp white oak trees create a rustling canopy of leaves over the plaza. This grove of trees bring green rebirth in the spring, provide cooling shade in the summer and show seasonal color in fall. A small clearing in the grove, known as the Memorial Glade, designates a space for gatherings and special ceremonies.
As I walked around the space I saw some extremely intimate moments between strangers. It was heartbreaking. I saw firemen resting their fingertips on inscribed names, people crying and people staring almost mesmerized as the water spilled off the ledges into the pool below.
I remember where I was the day the towers came down and I can only imagine what it must have been like for the people affected and their families. I made sure I took time to reflect upon that whilst in the space.
When I left the 9/11 Memorial and walked back onto the main street I looked up amidst all the construction and saw the damage the building that housed Brooks Brothers still held. Indeed the memorial is complete and a wonderful space to sympathize with family and friends but just outside the reality of what befell that day still lingers for visitors and locals as a reminder of how blessed we all are.