Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th Edition: Visit the 9/11 Memorial Site

If you haven't been yet, a trip to the beautiful grounds of the 9/11 Memorial Site is a worthwhile experience to reflect and remember those lost 11 years ago today. The site itself is FREE to visit, although a reservation for a visitor's pass is required. Reservations for most of the day are often available the morning of your planned visit. Simply sign up at: http://www.911memorial.org/visitor-passes. You can then either print out your visitor's pass or pick it up at the memorial preview site. There are donation boxes located on-site should you wish to make a contribution to the upkeep of the site and to the development of the museum.

Although the museum has yet to open, there are many key landmarks to view at the site (which at this point is designed as a sort of memorial park): the two fountains built into the buildings' original foundations displaying the names of those lost, computers that enable you to look up a friend or loved one and locate their name, and the survivor tree

The Survivor Tree: An Emblem of Hope

The survivor tree, as one of the fantastic volunteer guides related to me, was the last living thing to be pulled out of the rubble. The tree was then grafted with a portion of another tree and re-planted at the memorial site. When you get up close to the tree you can see the rough bark of the original tree and the smooth bark of the grafted section that has grown since 2011. The tree symbolizes those that survived the tragedy. 

The memorial site remembers the victims from the World Trade Center, American Airlines Flight 11 and 77, United Flights 175 and 93, and the 1993 WTC bombing. The preview site offers an extensive collection of memorabilia left by loved ones at the site, video documentaries, a booth where you can share your personal story or memory of someone who was lost, and memorial artwork. 

Overall, I believe the site was very tastefully designed with the collaboration of many of the victims' family members.  It will be great to see their ideas fully materialized when the museum is completed. As it stands, the site is an ideal venue for quiet, personal reflection - with a few inspirational emblems of hope like the beautiful survivor tree!

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