By Andrea Albayeros ’17
September 11, 2001 tragedy strikes at the world trade center. A terrorist attack caused the twin towers to collapse and caused mass destruction, but today in their place is a museum to honor and commemorate this historical day.
The 9/11 memorial museum was built right on the location of the twin towers, exactly 70 feet below ground. The introductory exhibit is a ramp with panels projecting calls made on the day of the attack. This ramp leads to the exhibitions, which is located on the original foundation level of the twin towers. There are exhibitions that show the destructor the 9/11 attack caused. There are also exhibits that commemorate and honor the 2,983 people killed in the attacks.
The north tower exhibition is surrounded by the towers footprints. In that area is the September 11, 2001 historical exhibition and the reflection on 9/11 and recording studios. In the September 1, 2001 exhibit is the main exhibition. This part of the museum is broken into three parts that explore the day of 9/11, what led to the attacks, and the immediate aftermath. There is a time line inside the exhibit showing everything that happened on that day of the attack and after. In here you can find things like the world trade center’s signs that marked the entrance to the towers, also major news stories on the day of the attacks are shown, also personal belongings of people that survived over the years. There are also many vehicles or remains of vehicles, like fire trucks and police cars that were sent out that day. Things were also recovered the day after the attacks like the American flag from the world trade center. There is also a part in this exhibit that shows the plans that occurred before the attacks involving Al-Qaeda. Videos of Osama Bin Laden were shown in this part of the exhibit. These videos were of him making speeches in which one he quotes “all Americans are enemies”. While walking around you could see the emotions in people’s eyes, these attacks affected people’s lives and this part of the museum really showed the effect it left on America.
Moving on towards the south tower exhibition there are many exhibits that are sure to catch anyone’s attention. When leaving the September 11 2001 historical exhibition you walk out into the foundation hall. Right in the center stands the last column, this column once stood in the core of the south tower. Walking down from the last column you see the center passage which demonstrates the scale of the 9/11 attacks with monumental artifacts like, the elevator motor of the south tower and steel that held the column together that is now literally folded over itself. Once passed all this there is the memorial hall. This hall is situated between the towers footprints and a site-specific art installation. This art installation is truly beautiful and tells so much with just the color blue; it is called Try to remember the color of the sky on that September morning by Spencer Finch. This art installation is composed of 2,983 individual watercolor drawings, all unique shades of blue to portray the color of the sky on the morning of September 11, 2001. In the center of all the blue is a quote that states “NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME,” this quote by the roman poet Virgil shows the transformative potential of remembrance. This idea of remembering is carried on with the material of which the letters are made up of, pieces of recovered world trade center steel. Moving down from the art installment are “the survivors stairs” these stairs withstood the collapse on 9/11. “Go down this set of stairs and then just run, run as fast as you can,” this is what David Brink, lieutenant of the New York City police department emergency service unit told many people to do in order to survive.
When reaching the south tower footprints you encounter the tribute walk. The tribute walk has a variety of artistic objects in response to 9/11. There is a quilt, the national 9/11 flag, a mural created for the people of New York City and many other objects created to dedicate tribute to the victims, serveries, and first responders of the 9/11 attacks. When finished admiring the objects created in the tribute walk, there is a 10 minutes and 42 second film called Rebirth at ground zero. This short film combines 10 years of time lapse footage reconstructing the world trade center site. “It takes time and some parts I think will get easier and some wont,” “As the years go by that date becomes less painful, not less important,” 5 people were interviewed for the making of this short film, these are 2 quotes from 2 people whose lives were affected by the attacks of 9/11. The last exhibition in the museum is called “In memoriam” this exhibit really is a lot to take in, it’s a quiet space where you can honor and learn more about each of the 2,983 people who died in the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 19993 attacks. There are walls filled from top to bottom of pictures of the people who died in the attacks. While walking around I noticed that there were people that recognized many of the victims of the attacks. Hearing how so many people were actually affected by these attacks, not just from a recording but from actual people coming to this museum to honor their families and friends really showed the impact these attacks had on them and how the making of this museum isn’t just for people to learn but also to honor and remember loved ones.