Monday, April 23, 2012

The National September 11th Memorial

Last weekend I went to NYC for a weekend get together with Marisa.  You can read about all the fun we had here.  I wanted to do a separate post on visiting The National September 11th Memorial.

We started our visit at the Tribute WTC Visitor Center where we picked up our free tickets for the memorial.  The Tribute WTC Visitor Center is in a temporary location since it will be moved to the same area as the memorial once the entire project is complete.  At the Tribute WTC Visitor Center you can view pictures and mementos from 9/11.

Before entering the actual memorial you have to walk through a security area (similar to airport security) which is a stinging reminder of what led to the events of 9/11 in the first place.  Once through security you enter into a large open area that looks similar to a park surrounded by many large (under construction) buildings, beautiful landscaping and the two pools.

The North Pool and the South Pool are located in the exact spots where the North Tower and South Tower were located.  Each pool takes up an acre of space and thirty foot waterfalls, the largest in North America, cascade into the pools, each then descending into a center void. 

The names of the victims are inscribed in bronze parapets around the pools.  The nearly 3,000 names of the victims of the 9/11 and 1993 attacks are arranged based on layers of "meaningful adjacencies" that reflect where the victims were on 9/11 and the relationships they shared with others who were lost that day.  This was to honor the requests from victims' families for specific names to be next to one another.

To find a name you can visit or use an electronic directory located at the memorial.  Seeing all of the names around the waterfalls has quite an impact as it seems as if the names go on forever.  Just another reminder of just how many lives were lost on that terrible day.

While there is much sadness at the memorial there is also much hope.  As you look around and see the construction of many new buildings you can help but feel inspired by all of the energy that this area brings.  The building in this picture is 1 World Trade Center which at 1,776 feet, will be the tallest building in the United States.

The fully developed WTC will include the Memorial and Museum, commercial office space, retail and connections to public transit.  The Memorial was designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker.  The design was selected through an international competition that received 5,201 submissions from 63 countries.

Mission Statement

Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women, and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001.  

Respect this place made sacred through tragic loss.

Recognize the endurance of those who survived, the courage of those who risked their lives to save others, and the compassion of all who supported us in our darkest hours.

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance, and intolerance. 

It is hard for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words for this blog post.  Visiting this Memorial was surreal.  Any other memorial I have had the opportunity to visit is typically from events that happen before I was even alive.  So to see this Memorial of an event that happen in my life. . . The events of September 11, 2001 have shaped our lives and impacted us in so many ways.  I really wish that this Memorial never had to be built.  I wish that 9/11 was not such a common phrase.  I wish that people would respect difference.  
I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit the Memorial and I look forward to seeing it again once it is complete.  I'm glad that the victims' families have a place to go too.  A place where they can feel close to their loved one.  A place where they can see that so many people thing of them, often.  

*Please note that some text from this blog post is copied from pamphlets received at the Tribute WTC Visitor Center. 


  1. This is a great post Jodi. When we went to NYC a year ago the names weren't finished yet so I didn't get to see this, but I'm so glad to hear about how they decided to place the names and such. Very sweet to consider the families. I will never forget that day. :(

  2. This looks like an amazing experience. I would love to go there some day.
    My memory of 9/11 is that it happened on my 14th birthday. I was born on September 12th, but because of the time difference, it was the same day. Very strange.

  3. Such a wonderful post, Jodi. When I last went to NYC about 3 years ago, the 1 World Trade Center had hardly even begun to be constructed, so it's crazy to see how much work they have done since then. And that memorial is just beautiful. I so wish I would have been able to see that when I was there. We did a tour with the Tribute Center and heard two survivors tell us their was heartbreaking, but also really eye-opening. So glad you got to experience this!