Tuesday, 29 December 2009

New York day 7: Ground Zero

New York WTC Ground Zero

Ground Zero is the site where the once majestic World Trade Centre complex once stood before September 11, 2001.  I believe that this was not solely an American tragedy and that the whole world changed that day.  The site at Ground Zero is quite chaotic though and so visiting it, I was surprisingly devoid of emotion.

New York WTC Ground Zero (4)New York WTC Ground Zero (6)

New York WTC Ground Zero (8)New York WTC Ground Zero (5)

If you ever visit the site, I’d definitely recommend that you visit the Tribute WTC Visitor Center too.  It only costs $10 to get in and it is definitely worth it.

Tribute WTC Visitor Center

Tribute WTC Visitor Center

The Tribute WTC Visitor Center is an interactive, multimedia exhibition and it has a huge impact on visitors.  There are two floors and on the first floor you walk through a timeline of the morning’s events.  Most of the people walked through in absolute silence and I am sure many people were on the verge of tears, as was I.  I had previously read 102 Minutes and so I knew quite a bit about what happened and the chronology of events that morning so I found that the exhibition had a huge impact on me.

 

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (2) Tribute WTC Visitor Center (4)

“When we got out onto Church Street, it was sheer pandemonium.  I stepped over large pieces of metal.  As someone who works in aviation insurance, I realized one piece was a row of windows from an airplane” – Neil Getter, Aon Risk Services

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (7)Tribute WTC Visitor Center (6)

There were audio recordings of those telephone calls and message left by people that were on United Airlines Flight 175 and other 911 calls and emergency dispatches.  It was not easy to listen to.

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (8)

Jim Geiger walked down from the 51st floor of the North Tower with only his Blackberry in his pocket. Months later, the NYPD returned his computer briefcase which was found in the debris

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (11)Tribute WTC Visitor Center (12) Tribute WTC Visitor Center (17)Tribute WTC Visitor Center (14)

The basement of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center was all dedicated to memoriam and reconciliation.

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (24)

There was a whole set of incredibly inspirational audio excerpts about how people had helped each other after the tragedy and how communities had pulled together in the aftermath. 

Tribute WTC Visitor Center (28) Tribute WTC Visitor Center (29)

Do you know the story of the Sadako Sasaki and the 1,000 paper cranes?  It is an incredibly inspirational story.  A little girl was dying of leukemia 10 years after having survived the Hiroshima bomb.  Japanese legend has it that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes would be granted on wish by a crane and so Sadako began to fold paper cranes out of any piece of paper she came across. 

"Please treasure the life that is given to you," Sadako said before her death on October 25, 1955. "It is my belief that my small paper crane will enable you to understand other people's feelings, as if they are your own." - CNN

Her brother donated one of her original cranes to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center saying that it is a Japanese symbol of peace but to the family, it is an embodiment of the little girl’s life and is filled with her wish and her hope.

You can read more about it at CNN: From Hiroshima to 9/11, a girl's origami lives on.

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16 comments

  1. Great post Mandy ... gosh this must have been a great experience for you in a strange way of course, since we normally do not enjoy celebrating the 'bad things" but are innately curious of them...... thanks for posting! G

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  2. Beautiful photographs, great post, wonderful blog! I love the info about the origami cranes. I had never heard that story of the many surrounding the 9/11 tragedy.

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  3. What a post...I must visit there someday. I have been to Hiroshima, Japan and have visited the Sadako Memorial (or Children's Memorial) there. My students created 1000 origami cranes which I mailed there in advance. In fact, I did this twice for two visits. It was heart wrenching. You posted this with such dignity. Thank you.

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  4. A very touching and informative post. Ground zero is on my list of places to visit, but reading and seeing a first hand account has only reinforced my desire. I, too, was unaware of the story of the cranes and found it very moving. Thank you for this post.

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  5. This is memorable and informative.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Oh gosh, those recording are so heartwrenching. Well, this is n;t in the right place, but did want to wish you a fantastic happy new year.

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  7. I find the last messages from the victims both harrowing and incredibly moving. Like so many others, I can so very vividly remember the news coming through. I was on the phone at work and a colleague tried to attract my attention to her screen...

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  8. @ Gena: It was indeed a good experience and so important to remember.

    @ Jean: hey! Thanks for popping by and thanks for your kind comment.

    @ Carolyn: I would love to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I believe the cities look amazing today! So modern and bright and beautiful. is that true?

    @ Gargantua: Hi! I would definitely recommend it if you ever go to NYC..

    @ N K M: It is a pleasure - thanks for stopping by!

    @ ...mmm...: It is as good a place as ever - happy new year to you too!

    @ Sheila: I remember watching live TV as the second plane hit and that feeling as I realised it wasn't an accident.

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  9. 9'11 was a crazy event, that should never be forgotten. But I personally feel if it had happened in any other country apart from America, is that the Americans would have long forgotten about it or cared about it.

    I for one can remember the days when American Politian’s were openly supporting the IRA and the Yanks were happily contributing to the bombs and bullets used by the terrorists, which caused untold misery in the UK.

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  10. @ William: True, but we're all like that, aren't we? We care so much about the 7/7 attacks here in UK yet have all but forgotten what happened in Madrid and Mumbai.

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  11. The site doesn't look mega different from your photos than it was when I visited in 2003. It is an eerie and weird place/experience...

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  12. @ Gary: Hiya! But then what were those pretty lights that shone straight up in the sky and when were they up?? That's what I was expecting to see.

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  13. Hello everybody,I am an Irish mother and grandmother ,and my heart broke on 911.I watched the events unfold on that awful day, and I could not believe that life was going on all over this world as people were dying in front of our eyes.I am not a very holy person ,but I found myself praying for help for those who were trapped and for the families of those who died.The resilience and determination of the people of New York was amazing,and three years ago, I travelled to this battered city with my husband and my sister and brother in law ,to show our solidarity with you all.We are already making plans to return as we feel there is a real bond of history and love between Ireland and America.See you soon,Louise and her family.

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  14. Thanks for your comment Louise. I think the whole world was shocked and sad that day.

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  15. September 11, 2001 indeed is a day that should never be forgotten. Will the world ever learn. I personally feel that anybody killed in any terrorist attack should never be forgotten whether it happened in New York, London, Madrid, Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere. I remember growing up and the all IRA bombings that hppened on a regular basis in the UK and thinking what is the point in killing ordinary people over your cause.

    I think it is crazy that at over 100,000 civilians have been killed in Iraqi since the country was invaded. But as we all know too many Americans and British don't see those as being important!

    Sadako Sasaki, this was the first time I have heard her story and I'm glad I took the time to read about her...

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  16. @ William: I absolutely agree. That is why I have tried to draw attention to the Mumbai terror attacks on my other blog. And really? 100,000?? Is that official?

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