A part of all of us died on September 11th 2001. Wherever we were, we watched in horror as planes flew into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. The shock of the tragedy spread quickly through our communities. No one escaped.
Ten years after this tragedy, a memorial to the 2983 men, women and children who died that day in New York and in an earlier attack on February 26th 1993, was unveiled. Designed by architect Michael Arad and landscape -architect Peter Walker, the simplicity of the 9/11 Memorial with it’s twin reflecting pools and their thirty foot waterfalls, is stunning. The names of the those who died have been incorporated in bronze panels surrounding the pools. There is a certain poignancy in knowing that the names have been arranged to reflect where each person was and who they were with at that time.
I was surprised at how emotional I felt being here. Standing exactly where the towers once stood, the pools certainly do induce reflection. The atmosphere is subdued. With New York’s towers looking down on you and planes constantly flying overhead, I could not look up with out thinking of that fateful day.
A grove of over one hundred swamp white oak trees surround the pools with one tree receiving special attention. It is Callery pear tree which was planted in the original Trade Center Plaza in the seventies. It was found damaged, bought back to health and now stands as a symbol of a survivor.The Survivor Tree has pride of place.
The complex is not yet completely finished. Half of the sixteen acre site is covered by 9/11 Memorial while the remainder of the site is still being developed with the construction of four large towers, a performing art centre and transport hub. The tallest of these, the 1WTC will be the tallest building in America at a height of 1776 feet. The height is significant being the date of the Declaration of Independence. Whilst we were here, the building was just declared the tallest in New York. Two other towers on the site will just fall short of this height.
Once the construction is complete, the complex will be completely open but until then, you must obtain a free visitors pass. Times for entry can be booked online at www.911memorial.com. The passes are then picked up from the 9/11 Memorial Preview site at 20 Vesey St. There are also a limited number of passes available on the day. From here you walk to the entrance of the memorial at Albany and Greenwich Streets. Bring photo ID just incase it is requested. If you’re lucky you may not have a queue!!
Where were you on September 11th 2001?