As I was in New York City for the week surrounding the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers back in 11 September 2001, I was lucky to be able to see the new 9/11 Memorial just 2 days after it had been revealed to the general public. I feel privileged to have seen it so soon and thought it was a lovely place for a memorial.
The new 9/11 Memorial opened to the victims’ families on the 10th year anniversary and was available to members of the public from the following day. It is basically a large garden area featuring 2 man made waterfalls, which stand in the footprints of the original twin towers. They are the largest man-made waterfalls in the world and each one is almost an acre in size. Around the outside area there are all the names (almost 3000) of those who died on 9/11, as well as the 6 from the terrorist attack there in 1993, inscribed in bronze panels. When I visited, because it had been family day just 2 days previously, a lot of the names had things put on them – mostly flowers and a few notes, flags, and other mementos. This was really moving. I personally always felt most sad for those families who had not had any remains of their loved ones returned to be buried, and ultimately visit, and I feel that this memorial garden has given them somewhere to go to honour their relatives and pay their respects.
I must be honest, before I saw the memorial I had my concerns. People had described it to me as ‘big’ and ‘vast’ but hadn’t said a lot else about it. Being British, and with some reserve, I sometimes find the American way of doing things big and bold can be a bit over the top so I really hoped that this wasn’t the case here. I couldn’t have been more wrong and the memorial manages to demonstrate feelings of loss, and emptiness perfectly. I also love the fact that they are only letting so many people go there at any one time because this gave the place an almost magical stillness, despite being in the centre of a busy NYC district.
Unfortunately the 9/11 Museum attached to the memorial will not be open until September 2012 and this is something else for which the proposed plans look calm and moving and I would very much like to see this as well at a later date. You can read more about the memorial, or book a visitor pass at 911 memorial I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful site, whether you have a personal connection to 9/11 or you feel far removed from the attacks of September 11, 2001 – you will feel solidarity and calmness at this place of memory.