Hopping off the Big Bus Tour,
we stopped at the World Trade Centre precinct
and headed across to the two memorial pools.
The pools sit in the footprints of the twin towers
and are surrounded by the names of the thousands of people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
On the day that we visited, the waterfalls in the pools were switched off.
(Clearly it’s a common occurrence as they had official signage).
Thankfully, the weather later improved and we got to see the waterfalls as we were leaving.
While you can now visit the observation deck of the new One World Trade Centre,
(also known as the Freedom Tower),
my boys had no desire to do so.
(The September 11 documentaries were too fresh in their minds).
Instead, we visited the Memorial Museum.
Ethan was only a few weeks old when the Twin Towers fell.
I remember exactly where I was and what I thought.
It was late on a Tuesday night.
Every Tuesday Hubby went to squash, came home late and sat and watched an episode of “West Wing”.
Given that I was a brand new Mum, I’d gone to bed when the baby finally did,
so I wasn’t entirely pleased when Liam woke me.
In my mind he was telling me about some totally unbelievable “West Wing” storyline
– not one but two planes crashing into the twin towers –
and I told him how implausible it was and then went back to sleep.
It wasn’t until my mother rang the next morning and told me to turn on the tv
that I realised that the events were not a far-fetched tv plot but reality.
Sadly, into Ethan’s memory box for the year of his birth, went the newspaper for that awful day.
As you descend into the Museum, the first thing you see are the tridents,
an iconic feature of the Twin Towers facade.
Within the Museum, there are many reminders of the Twin Towers.
This information sign was displayed out the front of the Twin Towers buildings as part of a series of tourist plaques.
and this was the dedication plaque
that was also clearly damaged on that day.
There is a very dark and solemn feel to this museum,
with obvious reason.
You move slowly through it,
almost with disbelief.
The gravity of what happened is hard to fathom.
This piece of steel was located at the point of impact on the North Tower.
The metal is bent in the direction that the plane plunged into the side of the building.
The cab of this firetruck was completely shorn off as the North Tower fell.
Those who’d arrived in that cab were in the North Tower.
As you walk around inside the museum,
you can view the base of the reflecting pools,
(the large boxes that descend from the ceiling)
which outline the footprints of the towers.
Beneath those descending pools are the box columns that once supported the buildings.
And attached to the pool boxes are the pieces of steel that were impacted by the hijacked planes.
Everything about the museum building is symbolic.
It’s very well thought out and designed.
On one wall are words from Virgil,
“No day shall erase you from the memory of time”.
The colour blue was chosen to surround these words,
as a colour of hope.
On September 11, the sky was blotted out
and hope seemed so far away.
The most significant part of our visit to the museum
was when we spoke to a survivor.
He was a volunteer at the museum
and had been inside of the North Tower
when the plane collided into it.
He said the impact jolted him forward a couple of metres.
He pulled out a little tattered photo album
of the pictures he took on his phone that day.
He had a photo of the south tower as it was collapsing.
He’d just exited the North Tower after walking down flights of stairs for an hour.
Talking to him sent shivers down my spine.
To think how close he came to not being there.
A visit to New York simply must include a visit to the memorial and museum.