Madge in New York – 911 Memorial
Republishing this post today
in honor of our fallen heroes
On our last day in NYC, Madge & Mr. Madge decided to go in another direction – downtown to the 9/11 Memorial, which opened last year on the 10th anniversary of the disaster. After years of wrangling, bureaucratic bungling and arguments among the different constituencies involved, we didn’t know what to expect. You know the old saying “a camel is a horse designed by committee.”
We are relieved to report the memorial is an amazing tribute to the people who died and to the buildings that once stood there.
A temporary visitor’s center is located a few blocks from the site. A small yet significant temporary museum is housed there with a pictorial time line of the events, photos of monuments that have been erected around the world and artifacts. NOTE: 911 Memorial Museum is now open.
One of the most memorable exhibits is a replica of the Statue of Liberty that was placed outside the NYC firehouse in the theater district after 9/11. It became an unintentional honor guard over the passing months as mourners and passersby festooned it with patches, photos, souvenirs and other tributes.
The area around the memorial is still a construction zone with 5 office buildings going up around it. We joined the long line and snaked around construction fences toward the entrance. Surprisingly the plaza is a very tranquil place, considering the adjacent construction and large crowd. Covered with over 400 swamp oaks, the plaza will eventually have a lovely tree-shaded canopy. There are stone benches placed among the oaks, which will create some intimate areas for reflection once the trees are taller.
Walking toward the actual memorial, we began to hear the roar of water that seemed to surround us on all sides. As we walked closer we saw a bronze surround engraved with the words South Tower. We peered down into a square pool, nearly an acre in size, sited below street level. Immense waterfalls poured down all four sides. The sheer size of the pool took our breath away.
Designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad, The Memorial features two reflecting pools, one in each footprint of the towers. The pools are surrounded by bronze panels inscribed with the names of the victims from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and airplane passengers.
The First responders who died are organized by Department – fire, police and then battalion. Other government agency victims are also grouped in the same area. Airplane passengers are listed by flight number. There is even a section for the victims who were killed in the first World Trade bombing in February 1993.
The rest of the victim’s names are placed in the vicinity other people who were near them when they died. Madge remembers hearing about the arguments on placement, alphabetical, by company etc. The final solution is the best – side by side with whom they were with at the end. Between the two pools an underground museum is in the final states of construction, which has a dramatic street level entrance.
Madge and Mr. were both struck by the sheer scale of each reflecting pool and long list of names at each. We walked back and forth several times reliving that awful day and thinking of all that as happened to our country since then. When you gaze up at the skyscrapers in this magnificent city you see the grandeur that is, as we gazed down into the pools in what had been the sub-basement of the tallest buildings New York City, we felt the grandeur that had been.
After this inspiring experience we repaired back to our hotel to put our feet up and later that evening Madge & Mr. enjoyed an al fresco seafood dinner at a delightful Italian restaurant on Second Ave. It was a lovely evening as we strolled along the East River Promenade and then back to our hotel. The next morning Madge and Mr. said their goodbyes to the city they love and were off.
Au Revoir New York for now!