Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute
Virginia Military Institute in Lexington Virginia.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Adventures in New York City Part 10- The 9/11 Memorial Museum- NYC

9/11.

I almost hate to do this...  but let me start with my own 9/11 memory.

 I was working in Cleveland at that time as a social worker.  I was downtown with a client, helping them apply for some benefits on that day.  I overheard some people in the welfare office talking about a plane crashing.  There was some excitement among these individuals.  I heard someone say something about a second plane crashing.

I was focused on helping my client with the situation at hand, and wasn't paying too much attention, but after a bit, I asked someone working at the office what was going on.  He told me that a couple of planes had crashed in New York.  I remember hearing something about military jets too.  I assumed that the military screwed something up, and accidentally crashed a couple of their planes.

Before we left the building, we had heard about the hijacked planes crashing in New York.  We had a rough idea about what was going on.

I would find out later that Flight 93 was in contact with Cleveland Air Traffic Control (and it was definitely in the area of Cleveland).  AND, another plane that left Boston (NOT hijacked) landed in Cleveland over concerns that it may have been taken over too.

But..... man do I remember that day.

I think if you are old enough to REALLY remember that day, it STILL hits you hard.

So, while we were in New York, we had to visit the new 9/11 Memorial Museum.

We went through security, and it was similar to that at the airport, but the guy doing the screening was funny.  He told a couple of young guys in front of me to take their belts off but to leave their pants on.  The guys did not catch his remark but I told the Security guy I thought it was party time.  It was a funny exchange.  I thought it was nice that the guy doing security was trying to lighten the mood.
The museum itself was, as to be expected, very sad.  I remember the events of 9/11 so well I skimmed some of the time lines.  The relics were what got to me.  Personal items from the planes and buildings that were found at the sites.  There is a huge rock art piece that is literally 5 floors of debris compressed and burned into a large rock looking thing.  They think there are no human remains in it, but the description said that they really couldn't be sure.  Pieces of the planes were displayed too.  The Ladder 3 fire engine was there, and a guy gave a talk on it (it was pretty damaged, AND the entire crew died- I saw a lady crying as we left the brief talk about it).  There was a room of photos (and a few personal items) from the people who died.  There were sections on the Pentagon crash, and the Pennsylvania one too.  There was video from the airport of the hijackers going through security.  You could listen to the phone machine messages for a fireman who died.  There were over 50 calls from friends asking if he was OK.
The most moving thing to me was the phone message from Brian Sweeney.  The entire message to his wife, less than 30 seconds, was printed on a wall... and then you could pick up a phone and listen to the actual message.  He told his wife that he loved her and told her and his parents to have fun.  I just looked up the quote-
Jules, this is Brian listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you, I want you to do good, go have good times, same to my parents and everybody, and I just totally love you, and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye, babe. I hope I call you.
People came by and read that and you could see them breaking down.
I know we were in the museum for a while.
We went outside and tried to find the one tree that survived (it was in a cemetery and was pretty much untouched).  A guy selling 9/11 books was helpful with info and was selling packs of books for $25 I think.  We told him we were good, but he kept lowering his price and we finally bought a couple from him (they were interesting, with good photos).  He said he was a first response volunteer during 9/11.  His picture was in one of the books.  

The church (St. Paul's) was there, which was very important during 9/11, it is now a museum kind of set up.  That was interesting to see too.

I would have liked to have spent more time just exploring the area.  The new One World Tower is beautiful, and the 9/11 memorial pools are very special.

 







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