This past week my hubby and I went to Long Island, New York for his sister’s wedding. We decided to spend two days in New York City to do a lot of the tourist attractions. Although my husband is from New York, he never played tourist in his own state. When he asked if I would be willing to leave a few days early to check out the Big Apple, I started to make my list of places to go. We both agreed the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was a top priority while in the city. The last time I was in NYC was to spend New Year’s Eve with my future husband in Times Square.
If you’ve only ever seen the ball drop on TV, I highly recommend venturing out to Times Square and experiencing it in person. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience! Anyways, back to the important stuff. Although the 9/11 memorial and museum were open in 2012, we didn’t have the time to even walk past the memorial. I think we can all recall when and where we were on that tragic day. My father was active duty military, and I was living on a military base in England at the time. My family and I had just moved from Washington DC where my father frequently worked at the Pentagon. It was amazing to hear how much of the twin tower coverage was censored in Europe. My hubby was in high school in New York at the time and his father was, and still is, a fireman in NY. That one event is what made my husband want to serve in the military, so this museum was particularly special for him. I was a little concerned how the museum was going to be put together considering the exhibits were sensitive personal objects belonging to a lot of people who lost their life that day. I was comforted to know the families of the victims had a lot of input when constructing the museum. First of all, the memorial itself is beautiful!
I can’t imagine how the designers could have come up with a better way to memorialize that day. It brought tears to my eyes to see a woman sobbing at the memorial while holding her son. I can’t imagine what she has experienced. It was around 11:45 AM when we walked in the line to purchase tickets for the museum. The tickets are timed, so if you know what time you’re going to be there, I would highly recommend purchasing the tickets online in advance. Since we had tickets to go to the crown of the Statue of Liberty that morning, we had no idea what time we would be at the museum. Luckily the line for tickets was not long and we were able to walk directly into the museum. If you are planning a trip, the museum offers discounted tickets for veterans and students, so make sure you have your ID’s. However, the museum does not advertise that tickets are free to all active duty military, so we only paid $24 for a regular adult ticket. As we entered the building, the employees were incredibly kind.
It was surreal to see everything in person. After viewing everything on the main floor, you can enter a room through a revolving door. This particular part of the museum does not allow any photographs because of the particularly sensitive items in the rooms. I thought the museum did a great job of telling the events of the day from having a full timeline on one side of the wall, to showing news clips that aired on that day. Some of the objects were difficult to look at because you knew the person did not survive that day. The room even contains the famous cross made out of the steel beams of the Twin Towers that became very symbolic for a lot of people. After exiting that portion of the museum, we approached the “In Memoriam” section of the museum. It was hard to look at the walls covered with the pictures of everyone who died that day. Also, each person’s name was continually read throughout the day. Before you leave the museum, make sure to visit the third floor where the cafe is located. The flag raised by the three firemen that became a famous photograph due to its similarity to the photograph of the American flag raised in Iwo Jima is on display on the third floor.
I was a little disappointed this was not showcased more prominently and was thankful my husband and I wanted to check out the cafe. Overall, both the museum and memorial were beautifully done. I think this is a place everyone must visit if you are in NYC. It is also important to educate our children on the events of that day and to remember to be thankful for all of our service members who are still fighting as a result of those terrorist attacks.