What do you remember from that day in 2001? I had just started my morning routine, preparing to get my older son up for school, when my husband called and told me to turn on the TV. All of our lives changed in that moment.
As our country commemorates the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, I wanted to share my recent visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.
I've never been anywhere so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
The museum is separated into three parts: the Foundation Hall, the Memorial Exhibition, and the Historical Exhibition.
The Foundation Hall was built around a surviving retaining wall from the original World Trade Center. It's main feature is the Last Column, which stands 36 feet tall and is covered with momentos placed there by rescue workers. When the South Tower collapsed, this piece remained anchored in the bedrock, buried beneath the wreckage. It stood as a hopeful symbol during the recovery period, and was eventually removed from the site in a special ceremony in 2002.
This art piece adorns a wall in the Foundation Hall. People who were in New York City that day were asked to paint their interpretation of the sky on 9/11. The differences in shades of blue are beautiful and telling.
The footprint of one of the towers surrounds the space. I was amazed at how small it was.
The Memorial and Historical Exhibitions respectfully do not allow photography. The "Wall of Faces" defines the Memorial Exhibition, with portrait photographs of the almost 3,000 people who perished that day. There are also touchscreen kiosks, to learn more information about each person, through audio recorded by family members and friends.
Finally, there is the massive Historical Exhibition, divided into three parts. The "events of the day" includes artifacts, images, and real time audio recordings to provide insight into the experiences of the victims, civilians and first responders. I sat in a small theater and listened to audio of the telephone messages left by the passengers on Flight 93, as they realized their plane had been taken over by hijackers. There was definitely a peaceful presence guiding those brave souls in their final moments.
"Before 9/11" explores the evolution of al-Qaeda and the planning and training that led up to the attack. The "After 9/11" section includes thousands of items donated by families of the victims, and presents the evolving nature of how we understand this historical, life changing event.
I cried my way through the three hours I was at the Museum, as did most everyone around me. Even the children were quiet and subdued. I will forever be thankful and honored that I was able to pay my respects to those directly affected on that terrible day.
We dream that eventually our entire world will be a safe place for everyone, and another memorial museum like this one never has to be built. Until then, we remember, and pray.
I hope you'll head over to The Blended Blog today. On Friday's we'll be sharing interviews with our contributors, so you can get to know us better. First up is Deena, our creative leader and one of the most amazing ladies I've met in the blog world. Come join us!