My visit to the 9/11 Memorial

posted at 8:55 am on September 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday I arrived in New York City to attend the DurbanWatch conference today, but I had other plans for my first day in Manhattan.  Earlier this week, I got a press pass to see the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero, the first time since 1974 that I had seen what had been the original World Trade Center Plaza.  I couldn’t get a regular visitor pass, as the wait time for a reservation has stretched out to two months.  The memorial does have standby lines, but they want to keep the grounds from getting too crowded for people to appreciate the memorial’s worth, and obviously to reflect the ongoing security concerns.

When I arrived late in the afternoon, a ceremony had already begun adjacent to the North Pool.  I didn’t find out until it was nearly over that the city was honoring Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.  I shot some video of the ceremony — as close as I could get to it — and near the end of this video, you’ll see Sgt. Meyer walking past me as the ceremony ends.  Music was provided by the NYPD’s piper and drum corps:

The best way to recall the visit is through a few of the pictures I took.  I took this immediately on entering the grounds, and it gives a nice view of the green area, and a view of the new Freedom Tower (now officially called 1 World Trade Center).  While the grounds are peaceful, they are not all that quiet — the sound of the rushing water in the North and South Pools is significant, and of course heavy construction continues around the memorial.  The crowd in the background is the ceremony honoring Sgt. Meyer.

This is a view of the South Pool.  The two are identical, except for the names etched along the railing. It is not difficult to recall that thousands of people lost their lives at this site, and the pool was, I think, a well-designed memorial.

Another view of the South Pool, with the Freedom Tower in the background.

As part of Project 2996 two years ago, I wrote about Cesar Garcia, one of those lost on 9/11.  The website for the memorial has a listing of each name and the panel where it can be found.  Be sure to read again about Cesar.  I had also written about Ysidro Hidalgo-Tejada in 2006, but could not find him listed among the names; it may have been listed differently.

This is intended to be a comprehensive 9/11 memorial, as can be seen in this photo, where the names of those lost at the Pentagon are listed.

The section dedicated to the first responders drew the most visitors yesterday, perhaps because of the number of police and firefighters present for the ceremony earlier — or perhaps because their courage and dedication in charging into the buildings will never be forgotten.

I had not heard that the memorial included those who lost their lives in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, but was touched to see that they have been properly memorialized as well.

The etchings of the names make it easy to put flags and small flowers into the railings.  I saw a number of these yesterday, as well as people taking rubbings of the name of a family member, friend, or colleague.

Always remember.  Never forget.

Update: Fixed Sgt. Meyer’s name above.  Also, I forgot to mention how impressed I was that the memorial remembers the unborn children murdered by the terrorists; you can see this in the picture of the 1993 victims’ memorial above, and the phrase “and her unborn child” appears throughout the memorial.  Terribly sad, but they deserve a remembrance of the lives they never had a chance to live.

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… the city was honoring Marine Sergeant Dakota Meyers …

Meyer, not Meyers. Hey, speaking of, he’s about to be interviewed on FOX!

Tony737 on September 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Thank you, Ed, for posting this. Beautiful.

RDE2010 on September 22, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Meyer, not Meyers. Hey, speaking of, he’s about to be interviewed on FOX!
Tony737 on September 22, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Hopefully it will be better than the 60 Minutes “Let’s hate the Army” interview with Meyer from last week.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Always remember. Never forget.

Amen, Ed. Stay strong, America. Remain vigilant.

kingsjester on September 22, 2011 at 9:04 AM

What a beautiful place. Thanks for the video and pics.

I had the opportunity to visit on 9/11/11 although I couldn’t get inside, so it’s nice to see.

NYconservative on September 22, 2011 at 9:05 AM


The section dedicated to the first responders drew the most visitors yesterday, perhaps because of the number of police and firefighters present for the ceremony earlier — or perhaps because their courage and dedication in charging into the buildings will never be forgotten.

Amen.

They will be remembered in the future the same way the 300 Spartans are today.

Tony737 on September 22, 2011 at 9:06 AM

The best way to recall the visit is through a few of the pictures I took

I like the strategic positioning of the lovely with the long dark hair and boots, reminds me of Instapundit’s photos which always seem to have beauties in them.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Not having visited NY since 9/11 I can only image the emotional impact of visiting the memorial. While pictures provides one with ideas about the memorial, nothing compares to actually visiting the site. I was really surprised by the emotional impact of visiting the Oklahoma City memorial. I would like to visit the 9/11 memorial site, but none of the victims were friends or relatives, so I would find it sort of macabre to travel all the way to NY just to visit the site.

Zaire67 on September 22, 2011 at 9:13 AM

great post Ed, thanks. We visited the WTC site last November. My sister works in the building just south of the site and you could view ‘the pit’ as they call it from her 2nd floor window. At that time we saw it, it was still heavily under construction and it appears they’ve done a wonderful job with it.

ted c on September 22, 2011 at 9:17 AM

… reminds me of Instapundit’s photos … – Bishop

Urban Infidel does good work too.

Tony737 on September 22, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I would like to visit the 9/11 memorial site, but none of the victims were friends or relatives, so I would find it sort of macabre to travel all the way to NY just to visit the site.

I imagine it’s sort of like visiting the Arizona memorial. No family member or no one one I knew served and died there, and yet it was still very emotional. Brought tears to my eyes.

crazy_legs on September 22, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I was in New York just a week before the attacks. When I was there again a few months later, several of my co-workers wanted to go down to the pile at Ground Zero. I told them to go without me as I could not bear to see it. My company had an office on two floors of the North Tower and all made it out fine. We did have one employee I didn’t know who was on the first plane though.

The memorial is beautiful and I think I could actually go there now.

Never forget.

BierManVA on September 22, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Thanks Ed

cmsinaz on September 22, 2011 at 9:21 AM

that is a neat video of Dakota Meyer

ted c on September 22, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Remember when we used to be able to build monuments? Now we can only manage to dig holes.

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 9:25 AM

The saddest place to visit is the Vietnam War wall, all those names that go on forever have a physical force to them, it can be overwhelming. I’ll visit the WTC someday too and I suppose it will have the same effect, the sheer number of names and knowing that each one represented a human being.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Ed, thank you for sharing this.

God Bless America.

Laura in Maryland on September 22, 2011 at 9:29 AM

I imagine it’s sort of like visiting the Arizona memorial. No family member or no one one I knew served and died there, and yet it was still very emotional. Brought tears to my eyes.

crazy_legs on September 22, 2011 at 9:20 AM

I stopped at the 93 Memorial in PA this summer on a road trip from Houston to Portland ME before some of it was finished. Clear sky that day with just a few people. Having been to Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Bastogne and D.C., my eyes got misty and I felt the same sense of patriotism as I did at the others. NYC is next of my list.

Thanks so much for the photos.

TxAnn56 on September 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I should also add that the U.S. military cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer in Normandy is very powerful too; quiet, hushed and the rows of perfectly spaced grave markers that stretch on and on and on.

My wife and I spent hours there, wandering and searching for certain names I had come to know through history books. It’s one of the most beautifully kept and manicured outdoor spaces I’ve ever seen.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Thank you for the beautiful post. Never forget…

Fallon on September 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Thanks Ed.

gwelf on September 22, 2011 at 9:31 AM

The trees, by the way, are swamp white oaks. Think about the effort that goes into getting that many mature trees of one species. I’ll bet it was a labor of love for those involved, however.

radjah shelduck on September 22, 2011 at 9:31 AM

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 9:25 AM

We also used to say “North Tower”.
Now we say “North Pool”.

Imo…those towers should have been rebuilt bigger and taller.
That would be the best monument we could have given the fallen.

NeoKong on September 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Thanks Ed, that was a good video. I am glad you could get in that close to record the moment.

Dr Evil on September 22, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Thanks for using the power of the press to get us a peek. It really is beautiful and you can tell it will be grow even more tranquil. They did a nice job. Say “Hey” to Allahpundit for us.

Cindy Munford on September 22, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

My personal favorite is the Korean War Memorial

- The Forgotten War.

Dr Evil on September 22, 2011 at 9:43 AM

I should also add that the U.S. military cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer in Normandy is very powerful too; quiet, hushed and the rows of perfectly spaced grave markers that stretch on and on and on.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:30 AM

I have to agree. I went to Paris with some friends in the late 90s and I ventured off by myself on a tour of the beaches and the cemetery. It meant alot to me because my father and his three brothers all served in WWII and my uncle parachuted into St. Mere Eglise on DDay. They all came home safely. But that cemetery will give you goosebumps the likes you’ve never seen.

TxAnn56 on September 22, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Thanks, Ed, for a nice look at what has been built at Ground Zero.

One niggling detail, though, could we please stop referring to the dead as “lost”. They were murdered or killed, not misplaced. /maybe it’s just me

sandspur on September 22, 2011 at 9:49 AM

It took 10 years to get it built and it looks fitting as a memorial to all those murdered. I want to go, but I don’t. There is a name etched at the North Pool – Heather Lee Smith – and she was the daughter of dear friends. We know she is gone yet to see her name etched there – for all time – will put a period to it and I don’t know that I can do that.

For Heather, I will find a way. For all of them, we should all find a way to pay our respects.

And to never forget.

KrisinNE on September 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Thanks for posting the video and photos, Ed. This is a great tribute to the people who lost their lives on 9/11/2001, and your video and photos are a good reminder to never forget.

simkeith on September 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Thank you for posting, Ed.

Never forget.

NeighborhoodCatLady on September 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I have never forgotten, I still see the faces and I cry.

Oldnuke on September 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 9:25 AM

We also used to say “North Tower”.
Now we say “North Pool”.

Imo…those towers should have been rebuilt bigger and taller.
That would be the best monument we could have given the fallen.

NeoKong on September 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

A number of fine folks feel the way you do, and I respect that. But remember: there is an economic reality here, which is that Manhattan was over built with office space when the towers fell. I recall reading somewhere that the death toll would have been higher had the attacks occurred a few years earlier when more WTC offices had tenants. Rebuilding the towers wouldn’t make sense if they couldn’t attract occupants; what kind of a memorial is a half empty skyscraper? Anyway, what was in short supply in the area was open space, which the Memorial now provides.

radjah shelduck on September 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

The section dedicated to the first responders drew the most visitors yesterday, perhaps because of the number of police and firefighters present for the ceremony earlier — or perhaps because their courage and dedication in charging into the buildings will never be forgotten.

Amen.

They will be remembered in the future the same way the 300 Spartans are today.

Tony737 on September 22, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Except by the “Mayor” of New York, who wouldn’t allow them to participate in the 9/11 ceremony at Ground Zero.

Del Dolemonte on September 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Thank you Ed.

Never forget.
Forever vigilant.

I doubt that I will ever lose the white hot rage that day set aflame in me.

But remember the good grace of these souls for how they lived, and not the way they were taken from us.

juanito on September 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Thanks, Ed, for a beautiful post…

Never forget, never let the feeling fade!

OnlyOrange on September 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM

The saddest place to visit is the Vietnam War wall, all those names that go on forever have a physical force to them, it can be overwhelming. I’ll visit the WTC someday too and I suppose it will have the same effect, the sheer number of names and knowing that each one represented a human being.

Bishop on September 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Yes. That was my era, still have a large box of letters from my friends. It is marked DO NOT READ WHEN DRINKING AND DEPRESSED. So many heros.

katy the mean old lady on September 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

The pipes, ahh, the pipes. They always get to me. On a visit to Scotland, my wife and I were watching a military ceremony with the pipes playing and of course my wife was moved by their sound. A local lady turned to my wife and said, “Eye, if you cry at the pipes, you must have Scot blood in ye”…

Thank you for posting this today, Ed. I will never forget.

d1carter on September 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Thank you for the pictures, as I will probably never get there in person. It’s nice to see the memorial and the new World Trade Center so far along.

Was it unworthy of me to think, just for a moment: “In your face, bin Laden!”?

RebeccaH on September 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Beautiful, and no crescents at this one.

slickwillie2001 on September 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Beautiful post and remembrance. Thanks for sharing.

cs89 on September 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Excellent post, Ed. And great photos. I hope that while you were in the immediate area you were able to see St. Paul’s Chapel, the historic landmark on Church Street right in the shadow of the WTC complex that was amazingly spared any damage, other than the loss of a sycamore tree in the churchyard, during the collapse of the buildings all around. It became a sort of sanctuary for the first responders and workers in the aftermath of the attack. You may remember Rudy Giuliani speaking of St. Paul’s during the citywide prayer service in 2001 Yankee Stadium after 9/11.

Trochilus on September 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

radjah shelduck on September 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

While I would have liked the towers rebuilt as well, I recognize that it was more of a fantasy on my part given the reality. That said, what we got instead were pits. Now, they may be deeply moving pits, causing any visitor to drop to his knees in sadness at the loss, but they are still pits, and besides, I don’t see “instilling a feeling of sadness” to be the proper role for a monument anyway. Pride? Yes. Resoluteness? Yes. Awe? Yes. Sadness? Never, except in service to those other feelings. And as all that I hear is how sad people felt, staring into that pit, not how in awe they were of the police, firefighters, and clergy who sacrificed their lives, or determined to make sure “never again,” or proud of the way their fellow citizens came together that day, it’s just a monument to our decline.

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Thank you for the post.
And thanks for the heads up on reserving tickets. We are going in October and I didn’t know we needed to do that.

keebs on September 22, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Thanks, Ed. Great post and photos.

Hope to get up to NYC to see it soon. I went to the Pentagon Memorial on 9/11, it was especially moving that evening. Planning to go to the United 93 memorial, too.

behiker on September 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM

When I was there several years ago, I was appalled at how many Muslims were in the crowd, macho men and their brood mare wives clad in ugly headscarves. Several large packs of them, and they were pointing and chattering and laughing in the sunshine and having a high good old time. Doubtless I was misinterpreting, not being able to understand what their chatter was about, but to me their behavior was overtly proud, as in, “look at what we did!”

I wish there was some kind of a rule (or law) banning the wearing of hijabs, burkas, or abayas on this site.

NahnCee on September 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Ed, thank you for taking these beautiful pictures, even on this somber day.

I doubt I will ever go to new york, to see the statue of liberty, ellis island and now this beautiful memorial…. but it is always nice for others to post their pictures and speakabout their experiences.

The people will never be forgotten.

upinak on September 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Thank you for sharing that Ed. I do very much want to go to this memorial.

I also liked the design concept (the void of the towers does represent the loss of those people). What was your impression of the design in person?

Mr. Joe on September 22, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Mr. Joe on September 22, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Very much like yours.

Ed Morrissey on September 22, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Read the names of all the Americans — just the Americans — killed on 9/11, and tell me we’re not a melting pot.

Very nice post, Ed. Thanks.

J.E. Dyer on September 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Thank you for the wonderful video and pictures, it’s nice to see what it looks like up close.

It’s still amazing and horrifying to me that such a large complex was destroyed so quickly. I had last been there in Sept 1999 for budget meetings in the South Tower, they were impressive buildings, a small city really.

It’s good to see Dakota Meyer being honored. It’s so rare for a Medal of Honor recipient to survive his actions. I do have to say that I think that’s the first time I’ve heard the Marine Hymn on bagpipes though.

Common Sense on September 22, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Also, I forgot to mention how impressed I was that the memorial remembers the unborn children murdered by the terrorists; you can see this in the picture of the 1993 victims’ memorial above, and the phrase “and her unborn child” appears throughout the memorial.

Thanks for this post Ed.

That part really stings. No justice, no peace.

mockmook on September 22, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Thank you, Ed. Very respectful.

tuffy on September 22, 2011 at 6:50 PM