Thirteen years, ten days, and twelve hours ago.
Four planes, three buildings, and three thousand people later.
Three states, two cities, and one nation affected.
Women, men, children, babies, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, newly weds, recently engaged, uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances dead. I never felt such deep sadness, grief, anguish and heartbreak until I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I went in not knowing what to expect and exited in complete disarray.
Upon entering the museum I walked down a flight of stairs with pictures of the Twin Towers being built. From there everything just started to blend together, but I do remember distinct sections. Among the structures presented from the remains of the towers was the “Survivors’ Stairs”. This stairwell served as an important escape route for many people that day. Most of the damage seen in the photo below was actually due to the recovery period not the attack itself.
“The stairway provides a powerful reference to the survivors’ story as well as a commemoration of the recovery period.”
In memory of the victims of 9/11 (and also the bombing in 1993) a wall in the exhibit In Memoriam is covered with pictures of those whose lives were lost. There are interactive screens where you can click on someone’s picture and information (if available) pops up. In the middle of the room are artifacts of a few of the victims such as I.D’s, wallets, and even personal belongings that the family donated to the museum.
Another dedication to the victims is a giant quilt made by dozens of people after the attack. The quilt contains pictures of those who perished on the flights, in the towers, in the Pentagon, and the rescue teams.
The last part of the museum contained the most emotional part of it all: the phone call recordings and the images of people choosing to jump to their death. I don’t even know if I can describe the remorse I felt for the victims and their families. Hearing loved ones call to say their final goodbye, to hear their voices one last time, to say how much they love each other, it was a precious moment. Thinking about losing my family is heartbreaking enough, losing them so suddenly and horribly is something I can’t even imagine. You can hear a few of the phone calls here, but just as a warning grab a box of tissues. I will spare you the pictures of the dozen men and women who decided to jump.
“Mark, this is your mom…the news is it’s hijacked by terrorists.”
If you visit New York City the 9/11 Memorial Museum should be on your itinerary. I promise it is worth the visit.