9/11 Memorial in New York City
By Stephanie M. Chambers
In the 10 years following the event that “forever changed the United States.” Steve and I have not been able to bring ourselves to enter the makeshift 9/11 museum in NYC, where our son lives. This summer in the year of the 10th Anniversary, we brave the cluttered and cramped building near Liberty Plaza and shuffle in with other tourists to review the swath of photographs, voice recordings, and detritus of lives interrupted. Teddy bears, a crushed cell phone, a fireman’s helmet, and this twisted piece of steel (pictured left) from the building, humanize the tragedy.
“9/11” is as fresh an experience today as it was ten years ago, and more than just a catch phrase used by the media. As our group huddles closer to read letters and comprehend the images, we feel enormous lumps in our throats. We want to hug the strangers around us, enveloped by a collective vulnerability. In a corner, on a bench, is a single box of tissue. I move toward it. Steve notices; no one else seems to.
Events like this help us discover who we are as people. There is a sense of shared helplessness in the Italian, Japanese, and other languages we hear, but can’t identify. What we do understand is that, on this day, the entire world changed along with our country. While this visit was difficult, we are encouraged by new construction taking place across the street, where the towers once stood.
9/11 Museum, © ASHLEYWALTER10 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0