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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The World Trade Center Museum in New York City


World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 What are your most vivid memories of the events of 9/11?

 Aside from the overall shock of the day, a couple of things stand out for me.
The first is the candlelight vigil that was held a few days after the attacks.
We were living in New York City at the time, in a huge hi-rise building, 
surrounded by many other large apartment buildings. 
Normally, you can't get New Yorkers to look each other in the eye 
when walking down the street;
in fact, the unspoken rule is to avoid eye contact at every cost.

But there was nothing normal about New York that week.
And so, on the evening of September 14, at 7pm,
New Yorkers came together on every street in Manhattan...
face-to-face, eye-to-eye, shoulder-to-shoulder, heart-to-heart.  

Elevator after elevator carried thousands of people down to the sidewalks, 
to honor friends, neighbors and strangers who lost their lives 
in the World Trade Center tragedy.

As if that scene wasn't incredible enough, 
nothing could prepare me for the moment 
when people spontaneously began singing patriotic songs. 
I could barely get the words out...I was so choked up.
I do remember we recorded it,
but somehow, something got recorded over that video.
Maybe it was only meant to be recorded in our minds and hearts,
and not on videotape.

All of these powerful memories and feelings came flooding back,
when we visited the World Trade Center Memorial 
and Museum two weeks ago.


Rather than the usual museum that houses artifacts, 
this is "a museum housed in an artifact," according to the director of the museum.
 The museum exhibits are underground, 
because the space was built around some remaining structures, 
for example, the "slurry wall" on the left side of the photo below.

When the World Trade Center was built back in the 1960's,
this retaining wall was built to prevent water from the nearby Hudson River 
from seeping into the site.
It was feared that the wall would breach after the attacks,
but it held.
The portion of it that was preserved became an interior wall of the museum.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When the recovery process was coming to an end, 
one steel structure was chosen to symbolically mark the occasion. 
Recovery workers, first responders, volunteers and victims' relatives signed it, 
and added memorial tributes. 
 Known as the "Last Column", it was one of the last steel structures 
to be removed from the site in May, 2002.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
The "Last Column"
The second thing that stands out in my mind 
were the flyers requesting information for missing people...
posted in desperation by family and friends...
their grief and fear literally plastered throughout the city. 

The photos below are a video display;
the real flyers are housed in the Historical Exhibit within the museum.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The Historic Exhibit was extremely powerful, and is really the heart of the museum.
It is comprised of three parts: The Day of 9/11; Before 9/11, and After 9/11.
Unfortunately, I can't show you pictures from that part of the exhibit, 
as no photography was allowed..

Photography was limited to a few artifacts outside that exhibit.
This was a piece of the radio and televsion transmitter atop the North Tower.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

You can see where it was located in this photo, where that little white circle is.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This is a remnant of the elevator motor that carried people to the top floors.

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

FDNY Ladder Company 3 was one of the first responders on the scene.
 The eleven members of Company 3 were killed inside the building when it collapsed.
 
World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

World Trade Center Museum, New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

 We also walked through the Memorial exhibit, which
commemorates all of those who perished, 
on the Wall of Faces. 

After we left the museum, we walked down Greenwich Street,
and came upon the FDNY Memorial Wall, which pays tribute to the 
343 firefights who lost their lives on 9/11.

FDNY Memorial Wall,  New York City  --- Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Walking through the museum is not an easy thing to do.
It brings back painful reminders of a terrible time.
 But, remember, we must.