The 9/11 Memorial is a peaceful tribute to those that died there. It very much reminds me of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC…something appropriately cold about the materials used and the simple listing of names.
After that we entered the 9/11 Museum. It may be the best museum I have ever been to. It is amazingly designed and laid out. The majority of the museum is underground. They are able to take you right up to the foundations of the World Trade Centers without making you feel as if you are disturbing what is now hallowed ground.
The content of the museum was just as impressive. There are 3 main sections. The foundation hall has various exhibits and the memorial hall has portrait photographs of all of the victims. But the best part was the historical exhibition. In here you walk through 3 sections of time.
There is the World Trade Centers prior to 9/11: the concept, the construction, the use of the buildings, and what they represented including, for instance, as a backdrop in movies.
Then there is reliving the day. I do this every September 11th by watching History Channel. For some reason I like to get myself upset about what happened. But I also like being amazed in watching the brave firefighters go into the buildings. I also take pride in how the people of NYC came together that day. This part of the museum definitely stirred the same emotions that I get by watching the documentaries each year.
(My own recollections of that day…well, it was confusing. I was working at Mercadien listening to everything unfold on the radio. It took awhile for us to understand that the first crash wasn’t an accident. Even after understating, I don’t think I got upset that day. I was too focused on work…Hillier’s tax return was on extension and it was due September 15 whether we were under attack or not. I even worked late that night. To be clear, there wasn’t a person who told me to stay buried in my work or to stay late. It was just the understood culture of the time and place.)
The final section takes you through the aftermath. Not only are the recovery and rebuilding presented, but also the larger effects on the country and the world. I liked that this section didn’t sugar coat anything. The words “Islamic terrorist” were used. On the other side, they presented August Daily Brief from the CIA to President Bush warning “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US”.
(My memories of post-9/11 was that we all wanted a retaliation. The actual consequence of war didn’t matter…we wanted retribution. Beyond that, patriotism was through the roof. Everyone had flags, pins, caps and shirts. It was everywhere. I particularly remember driving major highways like 295 and NJ Turnpike. Every overpass that crossed the road had at least one flag hanging from it.)