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Freedom Tower can be spotted in the distance from all over New York City reminding us of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. Had it not been for #missjane’s solemn nod when I asked if I should include the 9/11 Memorial Museum in my itinerary, I may have given it a miss. I’m grateful to her for nudging me and I in-turn, would like to nudge paraphernalians visiting Manhattan to make the effort. If time permits, try not to arrange anything else for the day. The museum exhibits are emotionally draining and memorial plaza has an overwhelming impact.

Freedom Tower Manhattan New York City

In the twin towers’ footprints, the north and south reflection pools respect the victims. Every person’s name who lost their life, including those lost in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, have been inscribed in bronze around the pools’ perimeters. Electronic directories in the wall of Freedom Tower provide the location of individual names. Single roses placed in the inscriptions by friends and relatives cause a lump in the throat. The pools themselves surround 9 metre cascading waterfalls descending into a central void. The stark beauty and the reason for it’s existence is palpable.

Reflection Pools 9/11 Memorial Manhattan New York City

The survivor tree, a Callary Pear, has been nursed back to health having been rescued from the rubble. It’s spring bloom symbolising life against the bare White Oaks, the only other trees at the site.

Survivor Tree 9/11 Memorial Manhattan New York City

Reflecting on my last visit to this site, Windows on the World on level 106 and 107 of the north tower, I decided on a breather before entering the museum.

Approaching FDNY Ladder 10, located only a hundred or so metres from the memorial, sculpted murals depicting scenes from that day line the wall for a block. Next door firemen went about their business, cleaning trucks, chatting to passersby and giving directions to tourists. O’Hara’s is the closest bar and it seemed fitting to drink to those who put others first that day.

FDNY Ladder 10 Manhattan New York City

At the entrance to the museum escalators descend into the foundations with steel columns protruding through the floor. A stunning installation by artist Spencer Finch titled “Trying to Remember the Colour of the Sky That September Morning” consists of 2,983 individually painted blue squares representing each of the victims from 2001 and 1993. No shade of blue is repeated. Contemplative spaces allow you to experience recorded messages of last words, emergency calls and breaking news announcements with an eerie clarity.

9/11 Memorial Museum Manhattan New York City

The memorial and museum have been completed with respect and class, it’s a credit to all involved. The terms of entry are detailed and specific but decorum went without saying. The experience is humbling and words superfluous, indicated by the silence during my visit. Security is tight, think airport screening procedures, something we’ve become used to since 9/11.

Open daily and free on Tuesdays from 5pm. Ticket queues move swiftly, but for time-poor paraphernalians, purchase tickets online.

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum; perhaps not “a thing we love” but definitely a thing we love we’ve done….