One World Trade Center
After 6 weeks of intense planning, we’re off! A tricky flight schedule, paired with the perk of Southwest’s Companion Pass program, tipped the balance for an extra day on the front to visit NYC. It would be a first for me and we were both excited to visit the September 11 Memorial and Museum. Wow, that place was intense.
Following a late arrival and a fantastic night’s sleep, we woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a full day in New York! We pre-booked entry to the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) for a 9:30 am entry to beat the crowds, and that certainly worked to our advantage. By the time we came down from the observation deck, lines had grown for the tower and the museum was also beginning to get busy. In the end, I’m glad we booked an early morning entry, because we spent a lot more time exploring the museum than I anticipated. It’s big and it’s captivating.
Your 1 WTC experience begins with an elevator that rises 104 floors while serving up a 360-degree, virtual, “500 years in 60 seconds” history lesson on NYC. That’s right – 104 stories in 60 seconds. The elevator presentation was very cool, and I seriously considered asking to ride down and back up before stepping out!
After that, you file into a room for what they call the “See Forever Theater.” It’s hard to explain, but you get an audio-visual tour of the skyline with a spectacular grand finale.
Finally, the next stop is the observation deck! Few skylines compare to that of New York City. Keep in mind, you are standing at the top of the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere. Sounds impressive? It is.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Once we finished soaking in the views, we headed over to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. If you are fortunate enough to visit this place, prepare yourself for the full spectrum of emotions. From the pools etched with the names of those who passed, to the Museum filled with memoirs dedicated to victims, survivors and heroes; you will feel it all – hurt, love, pride, humility, anger, gratitude…. you name it. This wall stopped me in my tracks. So many who can never be named, but will never be forgotten – they are honored here.
What stood out?
From tragedy, became beauty. New York City got hit hard that day, no doubt; but as fast as they got knocked down, they rose up stronger. There’s something very special about the way this event brought people together then, and continues to do so today.
In this place, you will find artifacts, but you will also find the stories behind them. You will take a journey back in time through pictures and videos, except this isn’t Hollywood – this is the real deal. You will meet survivors whom are now volunteers explaining artifacts and sharing their stories. How INCREDIBLY courageous is that?
We all know that New York City is extremely diverse; but here is where you truly realize that, when evil sucker-punched NYC, it sent shockwaves around the world. The hurt of that day was felt in every corner of the globe. At the 9/11 Museum, you will learn how people from every creed and country joined hands that day. In those halls, you will find that same diversified unity among all who gather each day to remember and honor those who were lost and those who survived. Experiencing that is one of the most inspiring things I have ever done. I never would have thought that through recounting such an inhumane act, my faith in humanity could be restored.
Beauty rose tall and mighty out of those ashes. Evil did not win.
If you’d like to visit the Freedom Tower and the September 11 Memorial Museum, you can book directly through their websites. If you plan to visit other famous sites in NYC, consider a CityPass.