September 11, 2001. I have no emotional investment in the events of that day beyond what I will call generic patriotic indignation. I didn’t (to my knowledge) know anyone who died. I wasn’t personally affected. As an American, I’ll always feel “something” about what happened that day, but I know it will always pale in comparison to that felt by those who were there and/or by those who lost friends and loved ones that day.
But this year that “something” is just a little larger. In August my son Kyle and I visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York. I thought I would share my observations and feelings about that visit.
First, the Memorial. Twin mammoth waterfall pools where the towers once stood. Awe-inspiring in their own right! And the plaza…to say it was “clean” would be an understatement. This is the cleanest, best cared-for public exhibit/monument I have ever experienced. The place is in a constant state of being cleaned/mowed/swept/polished. And everyone working/posted there, no matter their duty, seems as if they feel both proud and privileged to have been assigned there. The place reeks of unspoken, almost subconscious reverence.
Then there is the museum. Constructed in the sub-basement levels of the former WTC, it is simply awesome. A long escalator takes you down from the street level, and then grand staircases take you the rest of the way down. They limit attendance via ticket/reservation, so you never feel crowded. There are guided tours if you wish to take one, but you can just browse. Under one of the pools is an incredible exhibit that takes you through a minute-by-minute timeline of the events of that day. You can hear air traffic control recordings and voice mail recordings. Some of it seems, admittedly, a little silly. “These are the shoes worn that day by the photographer who took the picture to the left.” (No joke.) But who am I to judge? The place is so emotionally charged, I frankly was grateful for what I consider a bit of curatorial whimsy.
I could go on. I don’t care who you are or where you are from, if you visit this place and are not moved in the slightest, you are dead inside. If you have the means, do consider checking it out.