Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in NYC

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I’ve always wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial in NYC, but the other times I went to NY, I just didn’t feel ready. The first time I went was in 2005, and honestly, that felt too soon to go see the site of the twin towers. Even though I was only a teenager and was living on the other side of the country on 9/11, it was such a scary day and definitive moment in the US’s history. I don’t even know if construction on the memorial had begun yet in 2005, but I decided I would go another time, when there were a few more years emotionally between the horrors of 9/11 and seeing the actual site. I came back in 2007 and did a cursory walk-by of the area, but everything was very much under construction at that time, and it was hard to feel an emotional connection or find a moment of meaning in a construction zone amidst drilling and hammering.

This time around, with the memorial completed, the experience was so different. I got a lot more emotional that I thought I would. Matt and I just stared in silence, feeling the weight of this place on our hearts. I was fighting back tears the whole time as I read the names — and almost lost it when I overheard a man telling some people about how the names on the memorial are not grouped alphabetically; instead, they’ve grouped together people who knew each other, such as coworkers, family and friends. He explained that the families wanted their loved ones to be close in death to the people they were close with in life. I get chills just thinking about it. It was profoundly moving.

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Have you ever visited the 9/11 memorial? What was your experience like?

Linking up for #TravelTuesday with Alkeks Abroad and Lauren on Location and #MondayEscapes with My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase. Check them out!

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12 Responses to “Visiting the 9/11 Memorial in NYC”

  1. Holly November 3, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    I have never been, but I plan to next year. I am not really sure what to expect – I imagine it to be a trip unique to each individual who visits.
    Holly recently posted…Fault Lake, Matheson, OntarioMy Profile

    • Andrea November 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      I think it’s worth a visit, even though it can be emotional. And I agree, it’s probably different for everyone, especially for people from NY or people who knew someone who died.

  2. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders November 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    We visited the 9/11 Memorial a few years ago before it was completed, and we’re planning on visiting when we’re in NYC next month. It always moves me every time we visit. That’s so touching that the names are grouped by their friends and families so they can be together always.
    Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders recently posted…A Night With The Grand Ole OpryMy Profile

    • Andrea November 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

      I know, I was so touched by the grouping of the names! I think that was a really sweet gesture by the memorial planners.

  3. Patter Travelers November 3, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    I can only imagine how emotional it must be. I haven’t been, but I think it’s one of those everyone should go once spots. 9/11 had such an impact on everything in the US.
    Patter Travelers recently posted…The Man Who Walked Between the Towers-New York with childrenMy Profile

    • Andrea November 5, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

      Agreed. I think it’s good to remember the people who lost their lives, even if it’s uncomfortable for us.

  4. Lauren November 5, 2015 at 7:53 am #

    I visited this memorial once and I also got really emotional. Being from New York, talking about 9/11 always hits close to home for me. I was pretty removed from it all living out on Long Island, but I know A LOT of people who lost someone close to them and seeing all of those names is a really heavy experience. It’s definitely somewhere that is important to visit though. Remembering an awful event like that helps us move forward and make sure something like that never happens again!
    Lauren recently posted…Eating Italy- Falling in love with TrastevereMy Profile

    • Andrea November 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

      Oh wow, yah, I think being from NY would make it a lot more intense. I was living in Washington State, obviously nowhere near, but I remember the whole day everywhere I went tvs were on and people were following what was happening. Even being as far removed as we were there were still a fair amount of people who knew someone who died. Such a crazy time.

  5. Ting at My Travel Monkey November 10, 2015 at 5:54 am #

    I get what you mean about not being ready. When I went back it was before the memorial was completed – the hole was still in the ground and it was quite shocking and emotional. Thanks for sharing so I can see what it looks like now, a fitting tribute to the lives lost. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted…Holiday Snapshots #40 Hurghada, EgyptMy Profile

    • Andrea November 10, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

      Yah, the last time I was there it was really hard to tell how it was all going to come together. But it’s really beautiful, and so well-thought out.

  6. Arletha October 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Whenever I read or hear about it, it makes me more emotional. It’s a great tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future! I always wish for peace all over the world whenever I visit over there.

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