That one day in September 2011. Everybody remembers where they were at that exact time. Where were you?
The Netherlands, September 11th 2011. I just had cleaned the stables and fed the horses and went inside my family’s home. It was about 3.15 pm and I turn on the TV, just to unwind for a bit after some hard work. Then I see the news coming on, there is an extra news broadcast. I see the Twin towers of the World Trade Center, and one is burning. What has happened? At that moment the second tower got hit by a plane and there was chaos everywhere in the World. What the h*ll was going on? I called up my father who was terminally ill with cancer, and who was in bed upstairs.I told him: “Rob, look at the news! What’s this?”. He couldn’t believe it either. We had just visite the top of the tower only a few months ago, even before my father got sick. We went because my father wanted to do something “touristy” this time in New York City. I got many great pictures from that visit, including one of my father on top of the World Trade Center. So that September 11th, we watched the news together all day. It was beyond anything that we could wrap our head around. The towers collapsed and the Pentagon got hit too. There even was a plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Air traffic in the USA was shut down and everyone was in shock. “You probably would have never thought you would live longer than the Twin Towers, right” I told my dad that day. 4 weeks later he passed away. That’s why to my that moment of 9/11 has extra meaning, as it was one of the last things I did with my father when he was still able to participate in a conversation with me. I miss him more the more time has passed. And I do miss the Twin Towers too.
Nowadays people still talk about 9/11. Where they were at that moment, and what the true story is, because many stories were going around. Today people still don’t know exactly what happened, but we all know that many people were killed, and many people have been emotionally suffering ever since. The rules have changed. Some wounds have not even healed yet. And maybe they will never. There had to be a place created for people to come together and remember it all. And after years of work, it is here.
A few weeks ago the 9/11 Memorial museum has finally opened its doors. Exactly in the location where the towers stood, there are now 2 square black pools with on each side waterfalls that end up in a hole in the middle in the shape of a square. You don’t see where the water is going. It is very impressive. On the sides you can read all the names of the people who lost their lives. These pools can be visited daily from 7.30pm to 9pm and is free of charge.
Underneath the pools is where the 9/11 Memorial Museum sits. You have to pay for admission and I recommend buying the tickets online, and choose the time you want to go. When you enter, you go down the stairs and end up in a large space with very nice modern architecture, and with walls as much as 30 feet high or so. It is very impressive. Walking through the different rooms,you see remains of the towers. A fire truck that got smashed. One window of a tower that was the only one of all the tens of thousands of windows that survived the impact. The last standing concrete pole of 9/11 full of personal notes from fire fighters and other people who worked on the 9/11 disaster. (see picture above) The wall that keeps the Hudson river from flowing into downtown NYC. (also in picture above) A wall with the unrecognizable remains of the people who vanished behind it. (picture below) A room where you can ask to have an In Memoriam of someone who has died on 9/11 to be displayed. You see many, many things that were found on 9/11. And you are able to see, and hear different videos and audio of news broadcasts, and personal stories in the different spaces of the museum. There is even a box of tissues, because I am sure many people won’t keep it dry hearing a flight attendant call home who was on one of the hijacked flights, or someone in one of the towers who describes what she saw…
My family and I went the second week of opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. They work with hours of entrance, and there is a lot of security of course. There is a lot to see, and what stood out was that everyone was quiet. The museum was quiet. People were in awe and shock of everything they saw. Everyone remembers 9/11. Everyone has a story to tell, of their recollection of 9/11. And if you think your story adds to the story of 9/11 you can even tape your story and it is put into the collection of the museum. This way the collection is ever growing.
When visiting New York City, I definitely recommend visiting this Museum, it will make you remember it all, and will make you not forget.