9/11 Memorial and Museum Visit

On Friday morning, we were up very early to travel into the city with our son. His office is situated in the beautiful Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza, and we had breakfast together downstairs in the elegant lobby area which is all marble and palm trees, and decorated with beautiful flowers.




Our table had a lovely view across the Hudson River. If you zoom in on this picture, you’ll see the 50-foot-wide Colgate clock, considered to be the largest clock in the world, which was built in 1924 and now stands on a vacant lot just to the left of the Goldman Sachs Tower.


After breakfast, hubby and I walked across to the 9/11 Memorial Park. The soaring white-winged World Trade Centre Transit Hub designed by Spanish-born architect Santiago Calatrava to convey the feeling of a bird released into the air with steel wings poised for takeoff,  is a marvel of engineering, and serves partly as a monument to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.


It overlooks two vast granite-lined Memorial pools and waterfalls, set within the footprints of the ‘Twin Towers’, and around which are engraved the names of all those who lost their lives. The memorial was opened for the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 2001 attacks.


Our visit to the Memorial Museum was a very moving experience. Although there were many visitors, there was an eerie silence as everyone respectfully moved past the exhibits, taking in the full horror of the happenings of that day. Photography was not allowed in some parts, but here are photos of just some of the sculptures, artwork and memorabilia  which really caught my attention.











As I walked out into the Spring sunshine, I was remembering that Tuesday almost  fifteen years ago, when at our gym in South Africa, I’d seen the footage on TV of the terrible happenings in New York. The sound was turned off, so at first I didn’t comprehend what I was witnessing, thinking it was maybe a movie trailer. A few minutes later when I got a cell phone message from our son who had been living and working in Manhattan for almost two years, saying that I mustn’t worry as he was okay, I realised what had transpired. How grateful I was that he was safely at his desk in Midtown and didn’t have a meeting at his company’s office in the Twin Towers that morning. Thousands of other people weren’t so fortunate.








104 comments on “9/11 Memorial and Museum Visit

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Sylvia, it must have felt surreal to be there. A day none of us will ever forget. I am so thankful your son was safe. So many lost their lives, it was truly a very sad time.

    I’ve been catching up on your posts just now, and have been enjoying everyone of them; just wanted to drop a comment here, it was moving…..

  2. Also, I cannot imagine knowing a relative (in your case your son) being there and so blessed, that he was not working in his main office in the Twin Towers that day! xo ❤

  3. The World Transit Trade Center Hub is an amazing bird like building. Thank you for sharing the architect’s name, Sylvia! Lovely examples of tributes in all of your photos, too. I love the gorgeous foyer or entranceway to your son’s place of work. 🙂

    • Yes, I was really impressed by the beauty of everything I saw which has been built since the terrible tragedy. It just seems to speak to the power of American resilience and refusal to be bowed by enemy forces. They bounce back twice a strong. I’m full of admiration.

  4. I was overwhelmed as I read this. I couldn’t imagine the worry about your son. Blessings, for sure, to have finally spoken to him.
    We visited a 911 Memorial in Albany, New York. Like you, I was struck by the overhwelming silence – and some tearful whimpers – as we looked at the exhibits.
    Such sadness … !!! A touching post, Sylvia. It’s beautifully done.

  5. Just reading about this, almost 15 years after the event, still makes my stomach churn, Ad. They’ve made such a beautiful place out of the ruins of so many lives. The TV images of that day will be forever seared across my mind. I have a friend in NYC, just returning home later today. She was paying her second visit to the Memorial.

    • Yes they have, Jo. I so admire the American spirit of patriotism and their ability to ‘bounce back’ after tragedy strikes. Our visit to the Memorial park and museum served to reiterate my feelings of respect and admiration.

  6. credo che nessuno che ha vissuto ( anche se da lontano) quella terribile esperienza potrà mai dimenticare l’attimo in cui si è accorto che quanto stava vedendo in TV non era un films, ma la la cruda realtà, era una bella giornata di sole,primo pomeriggio e un venticello muoveva le tende, quasi allegro, improvvisamente era come se tutto si fosse fermato e oscurato, e all’incredulità prese posto la consapevolezza che da quel momento niente sarebbe stato più ugualenel corso della vita…e così è stato.Le tue immagini grandiose e struggenti sono ancora qui a ricordarlo
    un grande abbraccio, sperando in un mondo migliore

    • Yes indeed “hoping for a better world”, dear Annalisa. Thanks for sharing your memories of that day. We were all absolutely stunned by the unfolding of such dreadful scenes on our TV. Something we will never forget. xx

  7. My first visit to New York was March 2001 – we went to the top of one of the towers. We passed through again on Sept 9th on our way back from Alaska so I felt personally involved a couple of days later when I heard the news of 9/11. I also thought about the people we had met working in the tower in March – whether they were on duty that day, whether they survived. Not the same as worrying about a loved one on the scene, but I found out about that a few years later with the London bombings. My sister works in the City and none of us could get through to her on the phone for some time. Both have become “I’ll always remember where I was when I heard that” moments, the number of which seems to grow alarmingly the older I get!

    I couldn’t face going to the site when it was just a site, butt I’d like to go to the memorial if / when we return to New York.

    • Thanks for sharing your memories, Anabel. We were also up at the top of the twin Towers a couple of months before. When I heard what had happened, I thought of the guy who joked with us in the elevator going up, and the friendly and helpful lady who served me in the restaurant, who when I asked for an extra pot of Philly cheese for my bagel, smilingly gave me two more. So many innocent lives lost in these senseless and horrific attacks.

  8. I can’t imagine the feeling the memorial and museum gives a person. Amazing how just being in a place can be so moving. Thanks for sharing your thoughts from that dreadful day … and glad to know your son called so quickly.

    • Yes it is a very moving experience being so close to and seeing some of the debris from the towers, reading the messages and even hearing phone calls received from loved ones who didn’t make it out. It’s something I’ll never forget.

  9. Such a moving post, Sylvia. You can’t help but feel emotional looking at some of your photos, and the dream bike was exceptionally touching. I was having a haircut at the time it all started, I could tell something was going on with the news reports on the radio, but couldn’t quite tell what. I found out when I got home. Awful day.

    • Thanks, Tom. Yes, we all remember what we were doing when the news came through, just like we remember the day JFK was assassinated. Just like it was only yesterday. I can hardly believe so many years have passed since these two events.

  10. Oh Sylvia, I held my breath as I scrolled down your photos. My son and his girlfriend visited the Memorial and Musuem a few years ago and I remember him telling me about it, how profoundly moving it is to to visit. The Dream Bike choked me up. Thank God your son was kept safe, even as we remember those who were lost. I remember living in CA when it happened, watching the second plane go in live on the news. I had been out for a meal the night before with my then husband and our three children for my birthday on the 10th, never expecting, in a million years to wake up the next day to such horrendous news along with the rest of the world. Thank you for sharing your visit with us Sylvia…we shall indeed remember… ❤

  11. this is wonderful post Sylvia…thank you for posting! I’ve never been there but like most people I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing! We were changing a patio door in our house and I had the TV on…I watched it while it happened, for most of the day. It was very traumatic to witness…I felt disbelief, horror, sadness, anger, helplessness, I can’t imagine the horror felt by those who lived through it or lost loved ones! Thankful for you your son was safe!!!

  12. I was on a long distance commuter train. People were watching on their laptops. I thought it was just a disaster movie. I guess it will be one of those events we all remember where we were

  13. Very disturbing, this all. And the horror of terrorism goes on all around the globe, as Pope Francis said, it is the third world war.
    Thanks for the pictures, Sylvia.

  14. Thank you for sharing your pictures of the tour. I think you were lucky to know your son was safe before you knew about the tragic events which happened that day. We visited the area in 2005 and it was under construction, but there was also an airy silence amid the loud sounds.

  15. Thank you for sharing these pictures. I haven’t been there. Still brings teary eyes. It’s crazy how we all remember where we were at that moment. I’m glad your son was safe. Bet that was terrifying.

  16. Such a poignant post, Sylvia. We’ll never forget that day. I’d love to see the memorial and museum sometime.

  17. What a blessing that the sound wasn’t turned on before the phone call from your son. Funny how we all remember where we were when that happened. I was visiting my mom in FL and had gone to the library to check my email from their internet. I was due to fly home to Oregon the next day. Instead I managed to snag one of the last rental cars available and drove home, diagonally across the country. The mood on the cross-country journey was uplifting as people came together. Then came the incredible disappointment when our so-called leader told us all to go shopping!

    • Yes it was a blessing, Gunta. We weren’t living here then, so I didn’t hear about the call to “go shopping”. It doesn’t surprise me though. We came over to see our son only a couple of weeks after it happened, and were so moved by all the messages of support posted around New York City. The worst was seeing the myriad photos of missing loved ones in Port Authority and in shop windows and houses all around the city and also in Hoboken where he was living at the time. It was absolutely heartbreaking, but wonderful to see the way that people were so united in tragedy.

  18. I guess most of us exactly remember what we were about at the time – I was driving in my car and spoke with a friend who saw CNN, I didn’t believe him at first.

  19. I’m so glad you got to see the memorial and the museum . I unfortunately have not, the cost to go from one end of New York State to the other , is more expensive than going to Florida, strange but oh so sadly true :(.
    The photos are so moving !!!;( fabulous post Sylvia !!! Thank you for sharing these awesome photos

  20. Love the motorcycle project. The fire engine says so much about that day. Your son has a lovely place to work, thankfully he was elsewhere that day. Thanks for sharing your photos of the memorial.

  21. Oh my, I get goosebumps reading your touching post, seeing the Dream Bike, reading about it and seeing the fire engine all so poignant.
    Thank you for sharing, Sylvia.

  22. One of very few days in life I shall never forget. I remember thinking how monumental the event was as it unfolded on screen. It must have been deeply moving, as you say – I can quite understand that, Sylvia.

  23. thank you for sharing this Sylvia. a day many of us will never forget. i shudder with horror every time i think of 9/11. i cannot imagine how you must have felt that day. hugs. 🙂

  24. Thanks for sharing your moving experience of a memorial to another tragic day in American history, Sylvia. I love the story about the restored motorcycle. I’m sure the entire memorial and museum were very moving. I just recently had similar emotional experiences at the George W. Bush Memorial (which had a huge section on 9/11), the 6th Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza (JFK assassination) and the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Someday, I hope to make it to New York to see this. Thanks for sharing your experience of this day; and you’re right, your son was very fortunate, especially as his company had offices in the Twin Towers.

  25. Oh Sylvia I have shivers thinking about the call from your son. My daughter and i visited the memorial last year. It was very emotional and I can only imagine how much more so for you.

    • Thanks, Sue. His very brief SMS arrived just before the second tower was hit, and then we heard nothing for the rest of the day, as he couldn’t get another message through. We tried phoning him, but there was no reply, so until I got his second message late that night, we really didn’t know what was happening with him. We just waited and prayed.

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