What is the National September 11 Museum & Memorial?
It's the memorial on the site of the World Trade Center to the 2,983 people who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001 and in the bombing of the WTC in 1993.
What is the National September 11 Museum & Memorial like?
Where do I even start? There were a whole number of things that stopped me in my tracks: there are two reflecting pools that sit in the footprints of the original Twin Towers and I was expecting them to be just that - two still pools. They're actually mindblowing - the picture below doesn't do it justice but the sheer size of them, combined with the power and sound of the water cascading down the sides and then falling into deep wells that symbolise bottomless pits of grief, just took my breath away. The names of the dead are inscribed around the sides and they're organised not alphabetically but in the groups in which they died - during telephone calls to loved ones, people inside the Towers were able to explain who they were with and that's how they are commemorated. The Museum itself is also amazing and full of artefacts and stories that will move you to tears and fill you with admiration.
Where is the National September 11 Museum & Memorial
New York, USA
When did we go?
How did I get there?
I'd walked around the Ground Zero area in 2013 without really grasping what was where. For this trip with my sister, I booked us on an hour-long walking tour with a nice man called John. I highly, highly recommend the tour. He explained how the area had looked before the attacks, what has been rebuilt so far, and how the area was being developed further to honour the dead and affirm the importance and power of life. He'd been working in Manhattan on September 11 and talked about his experiences as well as showing us around. We also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (295) on this trip.
There's one tree that survived the devastation - four hundred new trees have been planted on the site but the first tree to bloom every year is the one that was pulled out of the rubble by the New York Parks Department, who scoured the site two weeks after the attacks to find any plants that might have made it. It is now known as the 'Survivor Tree'.
Place in the 2015 edition of the Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List?
Does it deserve its place in the 2020 Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel List?
Absolutely yes, for a multitude of reasons.