A Tribute to 9/11 – A Visit to The National September 11 Memorial & Museum

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It’s been some time since I’ve been able to post here.  The summer has come and gone and we’ve found ourselves completely engrossed with our cookbook project, Southern Heat, with Chef Anthony Lamas.  As our final deadline quickly approaches (mid-November), we plan to be back here more often sharing travel stories and recipes.  Today, however, seemed important enough to take the time to give pause to the events that took place in New York City on 9/11.

Thirteen years ago today, Mr. B and I were in Toronto, Canada.  He was at an International partner’s meeting with his consulting firm when I turned on the television in the hotel room and saw what appeared to be a horrific movie.  It was inconceivable that anything like this could ever happen on our soil.  There was silence for the next few days amongst the attendees of the meeting as everyone sat is utter disbelief and desperately tried to return home.  After a few days and no resuming air service, we finally rented a car and drove back to Atlanta.  We were never so glad to see our home.  Things have never been the same since that day and we never will forget, especially when we travel to New York City.  Mr. B has written about our recent travels to New York and our visit to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Freedom Tower

Freedom Tower

September 11. One of the greatest days of my life. On this day my daughter was born 33 years ago. My first child. But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that this day is marred by the events of 13 years ago. It was on my daughter’s 20th birthday, a very special day to celebrate, that an orchestrated attack on the United States occurred. Thousands died as a country watched in horror. Never have I felt more vulnerable.

May We Never Forget

May We Never Forget

Over the years, our country returned to a new normal, with greater security, heightened awareness, and war weariness. The “good war” was thousands of miles away and we all began to fall back into our routines. However, there was a reminder of that fateful day that was constructed on the site where those twin towers had soared with pride. The September 11 Memorial fills the foundations of the buildings with cascading waters flowing to an eternal resting place surrounded by the names of those who died. Let us “Never Forget.”

The National September 11 Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial

It was two years ago when Gwen and I visited New York to attend the James Beard Awards. It gave us the opportunity to visit places that were of interest. While I admit many of those places were bars and restaurants, there was one place that was very important for us to see. The 9/11 Memorial. It was truly an emotional experience. So recently, when we returned to New York to take part in a dinner at the James Beard House, we made a point to revisit the memorial and experience the newly opened National September 11 Museum.

This man polishes this plaque all day every day while talking about 9/11

He polishes the plaque all day every day while talking about the events of 9/11

Waiting in line to visit the museum

Waiting in line to visit the museum

The Museum, constructed beneath ground in the tunnels, stairways, and hallways of the World Trade Center site, displays the artifacts of that day, and tells the stories of the people and events during the crisis and after. It explores the implications of the 9/11 Attack and documents the impact on our country and its continued significance.

The South Wall

The South Wall

Entering at ground level, you are escalated to the bowels of North and South Towers. Here, you are reminded of the horror with facts, faces, a timeline of events, and statistics of that day. You wander through the labyrinth of cavernous areas that have been preserved, passing video panels displaying the events and emotions of the people just moments after the first attack. Sounds of that day are captured in the audio and video that surrounds you as you explore the artifacts and memorabilia of the victims, the first responders, and the media as they reported on the ‘Breaking News.” The voicemail messages to loved ones, trapped in the upper floors of the towers, saying goodbye, can be heard in the oral histories.

Original support beams

Original support beams

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