We all remember the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the failed attack on the White House on September 11, 2001. No matter where you were, the reports flew in from Ground Zero where thousands of people had suddenly lost their lives and their loved ones. The firefighters, police, other emergency respondents and even some volunteer firemen from Detroit were covered in ashes as they dug through the wreckage, searching for survivors. Yes, we all remember and we know that the years afterwards would be some of the most stressful and heart wrenching that our country has ever known, but just we have always done, our country banded together and rose from the ashes. The site where the World Trade Center once stood is now a memorial etched with the names of those who lost and gave their lives that day and two beams of striking light erupt form the beautiful fountains that serve as their bases. In addition to the memorial, another honor for those lost was erected in 2006, the 9/11 Tribute Center.
The unique experience of the 9/11 Tribute Center is that those people who visit are guided through a large gallery and through the memorial by volunteers who share their personal experiences with them. Those who have taken the tour say that the information is a valuable education and that the emotion is real. One visitor expressed, “This will help us to heal and teaches others how to love each other.” In addition to memorializing the attacks of September 11, the Tribute Center also remembers the attack from February 26, 1993. The center was created to fill the need to gather at the site of the attacks, to heal and find closure as well as answers from those who had some of the most personal experiences there can be. It is located directly across from the World Trade Center memorial, next to NYFD 10/10, the engine house that held the first respondents.
The 9/11 Tribute Center was a project put together by the September 11 Families’ Association, a large non-profit which aims to unite the September 11 Family community and to share resources for long term recovery, all while supporting the victims of terrorism through proper representation, communication and peer support. If you should want to help supports the tribute center, there are easy access paths on their sites, allowing for online and mailed donations which are used to find the center and keep the memorial and center running for generations to come, so that all who want to experience the tours can continue to do so.
So what does the 9/11 Tribute Center include in their walking tours and galleries? Aside from the gripping personal stories lead by the volunteers, the center also offers visitors a full range of exhibits from the center and memorial that stand now to plans for the site in the future. The large galleries offer an expanse of photographs and obituaries. They include the attacks themselves, the aftermath that was Ground Zero and a section dedicated to those who lost and gave their lives. It is unique in that all of the pictures of those fallen were given to the center by their families and now hang together in a lovingly put together collage on the walls, with a continually flowing screen depicting and describing each person that lost their lives. The center also offers visitors a unique look into the lives of the immigrants left behind in the city, who, after the attacks, faced prejudice and hate. The interactive exhibits show visitors how, even in a time of darkness, the American public reached out to them with kindness.
9/11 Tribute Center
across from the 9/11 memorial
120 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10006
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.