Today we visited the newly opened (9/12/11) World Trade Center Memorial. We took a three-hour guided tour. We were only a group of ten people, and it was very memorable. We found out many facts and behind the scenes details that we would never have known just visiting the site and viewing the memorial.
The two reflection pools are powerful memorials by themselves. This view is from the south edge of the south pool. The pools trace the footprints of the towers. Massive waterfalls encircle the pools on all sides, visible, but unreachable. The water disappears into black square pits in the bottom. It is not possible to see the bottom from the edge of the pool. This gives it an infinity feeling. The pools are lined with a large border where the names of all victims are engraved on copper, backlit at night from below.
In the background, the building with the American flag, is the base of One World Trade Center, now 80 stories tall and not yet completed. It will be 1776 feet high when complete, the tallest building in North America. The white building on the right side in the background is the structure of the museum, which is still under construction, scheduled to be opened on 9/11/12.
The pools are massive. Standing at the edge, I felt very small and insignificant. I looked up and simply could not imagine that something this big, and 110 stories tall, could collapse into a pile of rubble, right here. Looking at the tiny people on the other side of the pool gives a sense of its scale.
Here is a picture of the current state of One World Trade Center:
People find the names of their loved ones lost and leave flowers or other tokens of their care and sorrow.
The photograph below shows our tour guide next to the Survivor Tree.
The Survivor Tree is a callery pear found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center plaza, nursed back to health, and planted at the memorial plaza. The tree was originally planted at the WTC complex more than 30 years ago. When it was found alive and sprouting while the wreckage was being removed in 2002, it was taken to the Parks Department’s Arthur Ross Nursery in Van Cortlandt Park.
You can see the twisted and charred trunk on the bottom up to about eye level. Above that, all the new spouts came out and grew strong. There are only two trees known to have survived 9/11. This is one of them. It has an honorspot encircled by a banister at the memorial.
May it grow strong and live long. I am looking forward to coming back decades from now and touching it again.