Big Chuck Reviews the New 9-11 Museum in New York (VIDEO)
This past Sunday my wife and I were in New York City to visit the brand new 9-11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center site. I am always a little queasy going down to that famous place and I felt the same this Sunday going there. One thing that struck me was the weather. It was glorious! Warm, bright blue skies with hardly any clouds. Just like September 11, 2001 began. We started our morning with a visit to Battery Park, just five blocks south of Ground Zero.
This area was already packed with sightseers going over to the newly opened Statue of Liberty.
Battery Park is a historic place in and of itself, and it was here that we saw our first glimpse of the tragedy that happened on the day the Twin Towers were hit.
Now, it was time to join a very large, yet orderly, crowd for our 11:30 a.m. entry into the new 9-11 Museum. There is plenty of security to get in (the ticket is $24.00 per adult). When you go in you start to descend deep into the earth. It is cool and gets very dark. And then you start to hear the voices all around you. Quiet voices. Eventually you realize that you are listening to actual phone calls which took place from the tower to loved ones from those trapped that day. It really sets the tone for the rest of your visit here. As I told my listeners last week. one of the things I was most intrigued about was the now famous "Survivor's Stairs." This was a set of steps that led down and out of the burning and crashing World Trade Center. These steps led hundreds out to safety in just the nick of time. The Survivor Stairs" would be the only structure left standing above ground from the original towers. Many called them a miracle.
I found them.
The museum floored is dotted with large pieces of actual debris from that fateful day. You really feel small and impressed with the enormity of the size of the original structures. Here is a ten-ton piece of the tower antennae from the World Trade Center.
Throughout the several floors of the museum, as you go down, down you will see examples of artifacts that were made by Americans to express their sorrow over what happened here. This one was amazing.
The story of this doomed NY fire truck was chilling.
Here is the video of the same fire truck:
Two of the largest and most impressive artifacts from 9-11 are these two. First is the "Slurry Wall." When the World Trade Center towers were built in the 1970s, one of the biggest fears, and engineering problems, was trying to keep the Hudson River from flooding the area.
They answered this problem by constructing huge "slurry walls" several stories high made out of cement and concrete. This did the trick then, and did they did the trick on 9-11 when these giant walls held firm. If they hadn't, the Hudson River would have come pouring through, basically "wiping out lower Manhattan." The wall is impressive and is the backdrop for the large exhibit area. In front of it is the "Last Beam." This steel structure was the last one recovered from Ground Zero and was signed by rescue workers, first responders, survivors and family members. The two of them make impressive reminders of this terrible day.
The "Slurry Wall".....
The "Last Beam"......
As if to accompany you on your tour of this museum, the "MISSING" posters of the from that day pop up at several locations. These were ubiquitous throughout Manhattan in the days following 9/11/2001 as loved ones searched for any little pieces of information about the missing people who were almost universally lost forever in the towers. These faces on these posters are the silent witnesses to your trip through this museum.
Another area, a "memorial" area, gives an audio recording, done by family members of those who died that day. The surrounding walls are filled with photographs of the nearly 3,000 dead. The totality of it all is almost impossible to comprehend when you see all of those bright, smiling faces now gone.
This is a very well done museum. It handles its sensitive subject matter with the dignity and importance it deserves. After more than a decade it is hard to peel back the scab from this wound in our hearts and revisit the horror of that awful day. But this museum, while not pulling any punches, does that in a gentle almost graceful way.
I think this is a wonderful tribute to the souls we lost on 9-11. Many videos, audio tapes, exhibits and displays nudge you back to that dark place in our hearts. There is no doubt that this museum will see millions of visitors over the next several years.
On a final note, there was one place in the museum that really was beautiful. It was a towering, long wall of bright blue tiles. It added a peaceful serenity to the museum, which was mostly done in black, grey and white shades. Take a look.
It is only when you read the plaque near this blue wall that you realize what it signifies. This was probably the most difficult part of the entire museums for me. Take a listen....