NEW YORK NY – It is not a place so silent you can hear a pin drop. There are far too many people, daily, for that. The sound of a dropped coin, however, will resonate across the plaza, and cause heads to turn.
That’s what it was like just a month ago, as visitors from Sanatoga, Pottstown, Douglassville and the Reading area made a day-long trek to Manhattan to visit the National 9-11 Memorial in the heart of the city’s financial district. Today (Sept. 11, 2012) – on the 11th anniversary of terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Somerset PA – it is a certainty the absence of sound will be even more intense.
The prime attraction of the memorial is its two waterfall pools (one seen above in two photos). They occupy to the exact square footage the same spaces where the trade center towers stood until the fateful day when fuel-filled airplanes crashed into them, burned and brought them down, and killed thousands of occupants and rescuers.
The twin pools, north and south, are surrounded with engraved panels that bear the names of all those who died at the hands of the terrorists. From each of their four sides, the world’s largest recirculating waterfalls cascade dozens of feet down, and their waters then slide even further below the surface into central secondary wells.
Like the souls of the departed, that water seems gone forever. Then, like their memories, it returns to the surface only minutes later to begin its tribute journey again.
The memorial is open to the public daily, and is free, but tickets for admittance must be reserved online, printed, and brought to the site by the visitors using them. The tickets are timed; the intent was to keep crowds moving through the plaza while still providing enough time for a reverent visit. Guides and guards at the site closely heed the entrance times; the exit time, however, is not enforced.
A few guests spend hours simply staring, silently, into the pools, and are never asked to move.
Also within the confines of the memorial are a library and museum, which at the time of the western Montgomery County group’s visit were not yet open. They are expected to be ready by late October or early November. There also is the Survivor Tree, the only vegetation to survive the explosions and fires, and carefully nursed back to health then replanted on the site. It is surrounded by lush, well-watered lawns and green spaces that calm the eye and mind.