Like many in the area, I remember many details about that horrible day fifteen years ago. The perfect weather. Where I heard the news. The feeling of horror, shock, and disarray as further information about the day came about. The common phrase that came out of that was Never Forget. 9/11: Never Forget. Given the nature of the attacks, the damage, and the response, well, how could anyone?
Fifteen years later, we can honestly say that life would go on. Things did change but then so did some other things. You may have noticed I haven’t done this kind of post in a few years. That’s my bad, especially since I was the one who posted this five years ago. I’d like the answer to still be no. The answer should be no. But my actions belie that.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Manhattan. To say it was touching would be an understatement. I recommend that, if you go, to take it all in. All of it The two reflective pools where every victim of both the September 11, 2001 attack and the bombing in 1993 are listed. The tour that goes into the remaining foundation of the World Trade Center. The displays of an actual column removed from the wreckage and marked up by the various first & emergency responders and unions who worked on it. The 80+ foot steel columns that made up the facade and pieces of foundation columns still in the ground. To the commemorative pieces like the one pictured for this post, which I took when I went there. It’s called “Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning” by Stephen Finch and, well, it the biggest image I could take a picture of to take away from the experience.
The best parts of the museum do not allow pictures. They are also the most difficult and important areas to visit. There’s the Historical Exhibition, which covers pretty much every historical point about the day of the attack, what was the day like in NYC before there was an attack, the timeline of the attack, the actions of first & emergency responders and attempts at rescue, and the response and larger aftermath. Every aspect was covered and that alone makes that day hard to forget again. Then there’s the Memorial Exhibition. It’s a room of a portrait of every single victim of the 2001 and 1993 bombings. Each has biographical information, with many having someone - a friend, a family member - share a story or an anecdote or something about them. I can only imagine how difficult it could have been for someone to put it together, much less be willing to record something about someone they’ll never see again. Powerful is an understatement.
I apologize if this read more of an endorsement of the museum than anything else; but such memorials are important to make sure that the event doesn’t just become an event in history. To help ensure that the day is boiled down to a two-word phrase or a meme or some such. To assist people, even those who can remember much about that awful morning, re-realize what happened. To that end, I echo Joe Fortunato’s statement. Don’t forget. Don’t ever forget.
Make sure the answer is still no.