When thousands of New Yorkers stepped out of their homes on September 11th 2001, with the intent of going about their business to work, school or other usual activities, little did they know that within mere hours, the world would be in mourning, thousands would no longer walk amongst them and the entire world would be forever changed!.
When you awake to beautiful clear blue skies and a happy, bustling city, the last thing that comes to your mind are thoughts of senseless death and destruction.
We’re nearing two decades since the terror attacks on the World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers, took place, and yet the memory of that day is no less traumatizing. And when we wish to honor those who perished, people from more than 60 countries and all walks of life, we head to the grounds dedicated to their remembrance.
Memorial Pools – Reflecting Absence
On the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, NYC got its first viewing of the Memorial dedicated to the thousands of lives taken during the attack on the former Twin Towers.
The stunning Memorial pools were designed by Israeli architect, Michael Arad, who converted the foundations of the formerly striking Twin Towers into what he called the “voids”.
The spots where the towers once stood tall and proud are now two 1-acre craters. Each contains 30-feet waterfalls which cascade over blank granite walls before further plunging into a center pool “void of loss”. Each pool is lined with bronze parapets on which the names of 2,983 souls are inscribed, who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks. These include the names of the 6 from the first WTC terrorist attack, on February 26, 1993, along with 2,977 names lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which involved the WTC in NYC, the Pentagon, in Washington, and the flight that was forced down, crashing over Shanksville, PA.
Interesting fact: Arad’s original plans for the tour included underground Memorial galleries, where the glass walls of the wells would serve as backdrops to the names of the victims of 9/11 attacks carved on the ground in front of the walls.
However, Arad had to revise his plans due to certain setbacks, and the visitors would stay above ground.
The dark voids at Ground Zero are surrounded by rows of oak trees, which provide a calming contrast. At the time of its inauguration, the Memorial was met with both admiration and bewilderment, though the general response was one of contemplation and respect.
“The Sphere” in Liberty Park
Fritz Koenig’s sphere was once located on the WTC’s Austin Tobin Plaza, representing “peace and prosperity through world trade”. The structure was badly damaged during the 9/11 attacks. Today, Liberty Park, located on the south side of the 9/11 Memorial, is the new home to this iconic sphere, where it serves as a symbol of our perseverance to survive and thrive as both New Yorkers and Americans.
The FDNY Memorial Wall
Walk a few feet along the Liberty Street from the 9/11 Memorial grounds and you will arrive at the FDNY memorial wall, a poignant reminder of the heroes, the 343 firefighters, who lost their lives in the line of duty during the 9/11 attacks. The 56-foot-long and six-foot-high bronze bas-relief wall is a separate memorial, dedicated to the perished firefighters, inclusive of the 2977 people who died during 9/11.
These sites are not just for the families of the victims lost in the attacks, victims but for everyone else too; These are the sites that bring catharsis to those distressed by a national—no, international catastrophe.
It’s more than just a recollection…
Whichever part of the world you live in, a tour to the 9/11 Memorial site during your NYC visit is essential, because this site serves not only as a tribute to tragic loss—it serves as a constant reminder of the preciousness of life and the strength of a humanity that is united in spirit and cause, in a battle against fear and terrorism.
Plan your visit to 9/11 Memorial with a professionally guided tour offered by My NY Tours, a company which caters to its tourists, specializing in various NYC walking and chauffeured tours, to many of NYC’s top tourist attractions. Their 9/11 Memorial tour package includes comprehensively guided visits to the 9/11 Memorial and pools, the FDNY Memorial Wall, other World Trade Center related areas, as well as the Financial District in Lower Manhattan.