Monday, March 28, 2016

September 11th Memorials - New York City

While in New York City we stayed at the World Center Hotel in Lower Manhattan which is directly across the street from the September 11th Memorial and Museum.  Everyday when we would leave the hotel for our day out and every night when we returned we got to see the new One World Trade Center and the memorial pools.

In fact, one of our very first views coming out the subway for the first time was of the tower.  It really is an impressive building at night.

One World Center with Tree at Nigh NYC

And during the day when the sun is shining bright.

One World Trade Center Sunny Day NYC

And even when there are clouds.

One World Trade Center Clouds NYC

From our hotel we had a great view of the Memorial Plaza and the north and south pools which are set in the footprints of the twin towers that were destroyed in the terror attacks.

9-11 Memorial View from World Center Hotel NYC

The pools are very large and I can't really impress upon you the size through pictures alone.  Look again at the little people in the picture surrounding the pool and maybe that will help.

Around each pool is a ledge filled with the names of the victims who perished from the terror attacks. It was a somber moment to realize just how many names there were. We saw one name that had a white rose through it.

White Rose in Name on South Pool 9-11 Memorial at Night NYC

The memorial staff go out each morning and put roses in the names who have birthdays that day. When we first saw it we thought a family member had put it there, but to find out it was the memorial staff seems to make it even more special.  It is just a little way they try to keep the memories alive.

The Memorial Plaza is filled with trees.  It really is a peaceful area.  But there is one pear tree that has special meaning.  It is called the Survivor Tree because after the towers fell and despite all odds, this one tree managed to do just what it is called, it survived.

Survivor Tree 9-11 Memorial NYC

Ok, it doesn't look like it survived in this picture, but it was winter!  In 2001 they uprooted the tree and took it to a safe place to nurture it while they cleaned up and rebuilt Lower Manhattan.  They were able to move it back and you can see the scares where branches use to be but every spring it buds back out being a symbol of hope and recovery.

If you plan on going to the museum I highly suggest you get your tickets in advance.  We walked up just thinking we could walk in but they only allow so many in an hour to keep from getting overcrowded. (It still was way too crowded for me!)  So we stood in line for awhile not knowing this. Then we found someone to ask and they said it would be awhile but that we could go to the kiosks along a far wall to make our purchase.  The line was much shorter but still took awhile.  We needed to get through the museum and get to the airport by a certain time so we could catch our plane home. It was a little worrisome that we would not make it on time because we had to go at a later time to the museum than originally planned. It all worked out though.

(Note to self: plan better on the day you are going to leave to return home!!)

Let me show you some of the museum.  It is sad and hard to look at but it needs to be looked at.  It needs to remembered.

First thing the museum starts off with is how things were that day on September 11, 2001.  It was a beautiful Fall day with a spectacular blue sky.

World Trade Towers Picture 9-11 Memorial NYC

It showed how the towers looked at night.

World Trade Towers Picture at Night 9-11 Memorial NYC

Then it showed from that same viewpoint what the towers looked like after the planes had crashed into them and they started to fall.

World Trade Towers After Being Hit 9-11 Memorial NYC

After the pictures you start the descent into the lower floors of the museum and you can get a good view of the last column removed during the clean-up process.

Close View of Last Column Removed 9-11 Memorial NYC

Survivors were allowed to attach memorials of deceased loved ones and to write messages on the column.  Also on the column the number of victims was spray painted for the police department, fire department, and civilians including those in Pennsylvanian and Washington DC.  (For example the New York Fire Department lost 343 of their own.)

There was an art piece in the museum called Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on that September Morning.

No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time 9-11 Memorial NYC

In  part of the blue there was a sign that was just heart wrenching.

Reposed Behind This Wall Are Remains 9-11 Memorial NYC

There were examples of the destruction caused.  This one is of a steel beam from the north tower somewhere between the 93rd and 96th floor.

Section of Steel Facade, North Tower floors 93-96 9-11 Memorial NYC

The sign beside it said that the underbelly of Flight 11 caused the twisting of the metal seen at the top with enough force to gash the many tons of steel.

They also had a fire truck from Ladder Company 3 which was one of the very first to respond to the plane crashing into the first tower.  It responded before anyone realized it was a terrorist attack.  They just thought a plane had crashed into the tower.

Ladder Company 3 Truck 9-11 Memorial NYC

Since they were there first this fire truck had the worse impact from the blast of the towers falling after the second plane crashed.  All that were present perished trying to save others.  True heroes in my book.

I warn you it is hard to go through this museum. I can't imagine how family members and others who lived through it can see it all and relive that day.

But there was some hope in the tree that survived, in the statue I talked about in the last post, and in a pane of glass.  Not something you would normally think of as giving hope but out of the 40,000 window panes in the World Trade Towers, one survived.  One pane didn't shatter.

One Surviving Window Pane Info 9-11 Memorial NYC

One Surviving Window Pane 9-11 Memorial NYC

The best thing in the entire museum was this part where you could write words of love and encouragement on a screen and it would show up on a map on the part of the world where you told it you were from.  It was nice.

Words of Comfort and Love 9-11 Memorial NYC

There were other memorials in Lower Manhattan beyond the Memorial Plaza and the September 11th Museum. One particular place is St. Paul's Chapel just a few blocks from Ground Zero.

St Pauls Chapel Info NYC

Now St. Paul's Chapel was famous before September 11th.  It is the place where George Washington worshiped!  George Washington!  The very first president of our great country!!

Want to see where he sat?

Of course you do!

George Washingtons Pew St Pauls Chapel NYC

During the recovery effort this became a place for  rescue workers to take a nap, get some food, or have some medical help.  They did leave one pew there showing all the scuff marks made by the workers just trying to get a few moments of rest without taking off their heavy work boots.

9-11 Pew Marks St Pauls Chapel NYC

The pews have been taken out and the church is more of a museum now although church is still held there on Sundays.  The  museum is dedicated to showcasing the outpouring of love and support New York City received from all around the world after September 11th.

There were banners, paper cranes, police and fire patches, and even police and fire hats from all over the world!

9-11 Sign from Oklahoma St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Peace Cranes and Patches St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide First Responder Patches St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide Patches from First Responders at St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide First Responder Hats St Pauls Chapel NYC

The last memorial I would like to share with you is on Staten Island.  This just means that we got to take a 25 minute ride on the FREE Staten Island ferry which runs every single day of the year!  I didn't realize how big that silly ferry is!  I want to say it had FOUR different levels!  There are great views from the ferry of the Statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

But back to the memorial.  It is called Postcards and is a short walk from where you disembark from the ferry.  From the side it does look like an envelope, which for whatever reason I didn't take a picture from that side.  It looked really cool too!

I'll show you the view in just a moment but the entire monument is dedicated to the 275 Staten Islanders who perished September 11, 2001.  The inside has the profile of each person along with their name and date of birth.

Postcards Profiles 9-11 Memorial Staten Island

It was really sad, but again.  All of these memorials are there for a purpose.  They are there to help the ones who survived and to help them heal.

I really liked the Postcard.  While it is a memorial to the Staten Island people it also is a memorial to the events that happened across the river.  I will leave you with a look at the Postcard how I think it was meant to be seen.

Postcards 9-11 Memorial Staten Island and Manhattan Skyline at Nigh

My next post will be about Ellis Island.  I hope you will return to read about it.

Until then!