World Trade Center
At the entrance of the memorail museum
Just last September 28, 2014, my family and I visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. But going back to year 2001, I was only 11 years old when the terrorist attacks happened and I barely understood what was going on. I only knew that there were buildings destroyed but I didn't know anything deeper than that. As the years went by while attending school, I came to understand that the 9/11 incident is one of the signs that we still lack international security.
On September 11, 2001, it was known that there were 19 terrorists who hijacked four California bound airplanes. These were members of the al-Qaeda. Two of the planes crashed at the Twin Towers located at the World Trade Center while one headed to attack Pentagon. The terrorists of the fourth airplane were not successful since the passengers planned a counter-attack. Almost 3,000 civilian and community serving people were killed at that one terrible day.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is a place to learn the facts behind what happened on that single day. It also shows the stories of people who witnessed and experienced the attacks.
While most museums are buildings that house artifcats, the 9/11 Memorial Museum is literally housed within an artifact. (Greenwald, 2013)
Slurry Wall and The Last Column
As you go down to the main floor of the museum, you will see the “Slurry Wall”. The “Slurry Wall” that you can see on the left side of the photo was the wall used to hold back Hudson River from flowing when the World Trade Center site was first dug in the 1960’s. The columns were cut down when the debris from the attacks were finally removed; only leaving the top parts. Architect Daniel Libeskind suggested that the slurry wall should be retained since “it speaks to the power of what is unchangeable, and unchanging, there.”
Located at the center of the museum is the “Last Column”. The “Last Column” at first is like any other columns around the World Trade Center site. However, as the team responsible for the clean-up tried to remove this column, the “Last Column” would not want to be disconnected from the site. There is more story to this column. A mark “SQ 41” was spray painted by FDNY Squad 41 as a memoir for their missing men who were found nearby the column. Bit by bit, the column was full of memoirs.
As you deeper explore the museum, you will find the photos of the innocent people involved in the incident and their properties which tell stories of what happened that day. One notable story is the chronicle of the “Red Bandana”. The owner of the bandana, Welles Crowther, is a civilian working at the 104th floor of the South Tower when the attacks took place. New York Times reported on May 26, 2002 that an unknown man, with a red bandana covering his face, was passing the word to people to hurry and evacuate if they could already walk and perhaps help people if they can. The young man was also leading the people to their safety exit and carrying people who could not walk. He was such a brave man for thinking about the safety of the people first before himself.
Going further, I was appalled when I passed through the TV screens showing people jumping from the Twin Towers. They may have felt hopeless while trapped inside the buildings.
Another thing that struck me was the clothes still filled with dust from the collapse of the buildings. Chelsea Jeans, a store which sells clothes, has still the same appearance as it had been on September 11, 2001. The owner of the store decided to preserve it as it was on that day. However, he received accusations that his decision was only for commercial purposes. But, it was something really personal for him as his niece was also a victim of a terrorist attack in Israel. Several journalists followed grassroots petitions to re-locate it on a museum since the store might eventually close down. The store filled with dusts from the tragedy was finally passed to the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
By paying a visit to this museum, I became more aware of what happened on September 11, 2001 through the eyes and memories of the Americans. I greatly recommend everyone to go visit the museum if you decided to drop by New York City since you will definitely learn a lot!
For more information about the 9/11 Memorial Museum, visit their website.
( More photos! )
The Stories They Tell. New York: Skira Rizzoli Publications, Inc., 2013