Remembering 9/11 Touring the Memorials

Memorials serve as reminder of our shared struggles, sacrifices, and heroism. As a guide in Washington D.C., the memorials are often at the top of the list of places to see. Each of them serves a unique purpose and often provoke strong emotional reactions.

Throughout the country there are a number of local memorials dedicated to September 11, but the official memorials at the exact sites are powerful reminders of that fateful day.

National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

After an incredible amount of debate and discussion over the design, the National 9/11 Memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Called "Reflecting Absence" the memorial is situated on the two footprints of the World Trade Center.

The names of the victims are placed upon bronze borders in a way that reflects who they potentially were with at the time of their death. The victims remain together rather than listed alphabetically.

White roses are placed on the names of the victims on their birthday.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum officially opened in 2014. Visitors are guided through the day chronologically, telling the story through artifacts, news reports and first hand accounts from survivors and victims families.

“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” – Author David Levithan

The mangled wreckage of an engine from Ladder Company 3 sits silently as a reminder of those that came and risked their lives to help. 11 men from Ladder Company 3 lost their lives in the attacks.

“Ten years have passed since a perfect blue sky morning turned into the blackest of nights. Since then we’ve lived in sunshine and in shadow, and although we can never unsee what happened here, we can also see that children who lost their parents have grown into young adults, grandchildren have been born and good works and public service have taken root to honor those we loved and lost.” – New York mayor Michael Bloomberg on the tenth anniversary of 9/11

“My son, firefighter Leon Smith Jr., who was the sunshine of my life. He gave his life so that others could live. I love you, I miss you and we’ll meet again soon.” – Irene Smith, whose son was a member of the Fire Department of New York Ladder Co. 118

The Survivors Stairs served as an important escape route for hundreds that day.

The Pentagon Memorial was the first of the 9/11 memorials to be dedicated. The memorial is located at the site where American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the building.

Each of the 184 victims has a memorial bench dedicated to them. The are arranged by the age of the victim. The youngest being 3 year old Dana Falkenberg and the oldest being 71 year old John D. Yamnicky

The benches are arranged in a way that indicate if they perished in the Pentagon or on Flight 77

If the name plaque is arranged in such a way that you are looking toward the Pentagon as you are reading it, then the victim died in the Pentagon. If you are reading the name plaque and you are looking the opposite direction, the victim died on Flight 77

At the base of some benches, the names of their family member are included if they died in the attacks with them. At the base of Dana Falkenberg's bench are her father, mother and sister who were all on board flight 77. The years beside each name represents their birth year.

Flight 93 National Memorial

"Finally, we walked from the bus to look at the crash site; I remember shaking, and not believing it; seeing those men in hazmat suits and just a pile of rubble, and knowing that is where mom was- well it was just too much to bear. We all hugged and took a look around thinking what a beautiful spot for something so horrific to take place." -Carole O'Hare, daughter of passenger Hilda Marcin

"We know that Tommy did not die in vain. A hero on Flight 93, he, his fellow passengers and crew were drafted unknowingly as the first citizen-soldiers in the war on terrorism. And a little more than one hour into the war, America won its first battle against terrorism." -Tom Sr. and Beverly Burnett, parents of passenger Tom Burnett Jr.

The Visitors Center is located on a hill overlooking the actual memorial. It is situated on the flight path of United 93's last moments.

A long elevated path leads toward the overlook

Inside the Visitors Center, exhibits reveal the story of United Flight 93. Messages left on answering machines and remnants of the plane and passengers personal belongings offer a haunting remembrance.

Below the Visitors Center is the actual memorial. A long path bordering the debris field leads to the memorial.

Each victim is remembered with a section along a marble wall.

The wall itself is in the flight path of United 93. The gate at the end leads out to the actual impact site.

Beyond the gate is a large boulder that is situated where Flight 93 struck the ground. It is also a burial site. Unidentified remains of the victims were placed there during a special ceremony shortly after the memorials dedication.

Here is a video I did about visiting each of the sites

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Created By
Mike Fowler
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