Monday, September 11, 2017

Sixteen years

Every year on September 11th I pay tribute in my own small way by sharing some photos I've taken at the museums and memorials over the years. I have added to them with time as we travel to the city and see more.

As many of you know, New York City is one of my favorite places on Earth. I knew the second we arrived there for my first trip 16 years ago that I would love it. That trip was less than two weeks before September 11, 2001:

Look hard behind me -- this is the only picture I have of the towers and they look like ghosts in that photo. It still gets to me when I see this.

When we visit the city we make time to visit Ground Zero nearly every time. The first time we went back was four months after the devastation -- everything was still so raw at that point. It has made my heart swell to see the beautiful monuments that have been raised in that spot. In my opinion, they are so well done and pay beautiful tribute to those we lost throughout the country that day.

These first photos are from the Ground Zero Museum and tell the story of that day. This location is separate from the new museum – it used to be closer to Ground Zero but it looks like it’s moved to 14th street. If you visit the city I highly recommend visiting both.

I let the photos do the talking (forgive the quality, all were taken with a phone over the years):



Ground Zero Museum

The new 9/11 Museum is one they've been working on for years. It looks so small from the outside, and you think it will only take an hour or so get through. Plan accordingly because this museum literally goes deep into the Earth and you can spend hours in there. 

It is truly one of the most well done museums I've ever visited, especially considering the content. The beginning is a tour of the footings and walls of the towers (this wall below was one of the towers). Don't miss the room in the middle in this part of the museum -- it holds photos of each of the victims as well as video about each one. There are no cameras allowed in this space -- it is most definitely a memorial. There is a separate room at the end of the main part of the museum and it can be easy to miss -- but it holds most of the photos, artifacts and videos. It may not be suitable for younger kids but our nine-year-old did fine. (There are parts of this room we steered him away from.) There are no cameras allowed in that room as well. 

If you go give yourself plenty of time and be prepared for the heaviness in your heart that you will feel as you walk through and when you leave. It is overwhelming and unavoidable. I think every person that visits New York City should visit at least once. 

This artwork signifies the color of the beautiful blue sky on that morning. There are 2,983 squares -- one for each person lost on September 11th and at the 1993 bombing. 

God bless all those we lost on that day and their families. God Bless America. 
World Trade Center Memorial fountain

World Trade Center Memorial

One World Trade Center
(Freedom Tower)



  1. Great post. I took a group of students from my school in the UK to NYC earlier this year, and we went to the memorial to pay our respects. The most striking thing was the footprint of the buildings - you simply cannot perceive the scale until you are standing there.

    The staff in the area were happy to answer students questions and we explained how the day unfolded, how we all found out and how it felt watching events from afar in a place most of us felt we 'knew'. I didn't feel able to take pictures at the memorial, as I was trying to focus on the peace and calm in the space. Thank you for yours.

    P.S. Despite the reputation of New Yorkers for being slightly grumpy (much like Londoners!), we found the total opposite and met lots of charming and friendly people, a truly great city.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post and the photos. I will never forget that horrible day. Jessie

  3. Great post. Thank you for this. I was 17 years old and at 32, it still seems like yesterday. The fear, the sense of loss, and the heartbreak. My Dad lost two friends that day. Praying for those we lost and their families.

  4. Fifteen years ago we were taking our first trip to NYC to celebrate our anniversary on September 21. We had tickets to the latest big play. After the tragedy my hisband called the hotel and they suggested we not come. They said everything was covered in ash and was closed down. They described running for the safety of Central Park in masses after the explosion. Our airline, theater and hotel all generously gave refunds. We went a couple of years later and all was normal again. At ground zero construction was happening. Photos tributes, skeletonized buildings and burnt flags were still there around the site. It was very sad to see. It is a proud city.

  5. Wonderful tribute. I grew up in NJ, right across from Manhattan and could see the skyline everyday. The Twin Towers became a symbol of NYC, even though there was so much argument when they were first proposed. I lost 2 high school schoolmates in the towers. and where my hubby works, one of his co-workers was on one of the planes. I can't even begin to imagine how the families of the victims felt. To be honest, every time I see that film I cry.

  6. Thank you for continuing to share. You always do a lovely job.

  7. Thanks so much for posting this. It's the first time I've seen your pics from the 9-11 museum. Someday I want to go there. I was in Tower 1 when I was 14 - visiting my uncle's office and we also visited Windows on the World. The view was incredible but I remember being afraid of the big elevators and how long I took to go up/down. Thanks again.

  8. I was 17 when this happened (now 32) and we were supposed to take our high school senior trip to NYC a few months after 9-11. Some of the parents freaked out and the school changed the trip to Chicago instead. I was so disappointed. I also found it strange that they let us go to the top of the Sears Tower, which was the next tallest building in the USA behind the WTC and the most likely terrorist target at the time, yet they wouldn't let us go to NYC, which probably had the best security in the world after what had happened. Oh well, I still haven't gotten to see NYC. I would love to see the memorial as well as other NYC landmarks. Someday I'll get there - hopefully within the next 5 years.

    1. Hi, I wanted to clarify to your comment about Chicago during the time and months/years following the attacks. I've lived here my whole life and while I can understand your thoughts,I can guarantee you that Chicago was under extremely high security and not blind to the fact that the Sears tower could be the next attack. While our Nation was unable to prevent the attacks on 9/11, the whole country was on high alert,not just Chicago. Not only the day of 9/11, but everyday since,Chicago and the entire Nation have changed the security measures in place and I felt the safest being in Chicago during that time. As another example,I was in Las Vegas for the 4th of July 2012. There had been threats that the "strip might be attacked" during the fireworks. The public wasn't notified,the streets were packed waiting for the fireworks to begin. However,Vegas officials had decided to cancel them and not make a big public deal about it, to prevent people from panicking. Two nights later,the fireworks began much to the delight of all who were there. I'm in no way trying to disregard your thoughts at the time, but rather to help you understand why your school chose our beautiful city to visit as an alternative! :)

  9. Thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute. My husband and I were in NYC in December of 2011 and I remember the feeling was so different there than the many times we had been before. We will never forget.

  10. So touching and beautiful. I still cannot comprehend why the people who did this can have hate for those they never met.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. It's overwhelming to remember, even so many years later. The feelings of devastation and loss are almost suffocating.

  12. I'm a relatively new follower to your blog, and this is my first time reading about your annual post. Thank you for sharing it.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  13. It does feel like it was just yesterday. I truly believe that this event was more than we, as caring humans, were meant to bear. It's why we continue to feel the same horror over and over that we felt that day. I can't imagine the grief the families of those lost must endure.

  14. Just returned from NY and a visit to the memorial--you are so right about the "heaviness" you feel down there. It was almost too much for me.


I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!