WHY VISITING GROUND ZERO THE SITE OF THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS IN NEW YORK WILL STAY WITH ME FOREVER

A place of great sadness, but also of hope which shows the true resilience of the New Yorkers!

Stock Photo from Pixabay
Ground Zero – one of the saddest places I have ever visited!

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Can you believe it’s almost twenty years to the day since that tragic morning on Tuesday 11th September 2001? We all remember where we were the moment we found out what had happened. For me, I was enjoying my last week of the summer holidays before starting my second year of college. Then my brother called me from work, telling me to turn on the news! That’s when everything turned upside down? New York has been attacked? Planes had flown into buildings? Was I hallucinating? But sadly, as I sat and watched these events unfold, I soon realised that this was very real. Even now, when I see news footage from that day, it still makes me sick to my stomach.

A few years later, I went on a class trip to New York City organised by my university. Despite being a little nervous about visiting here after what transpired in 2001, we soon put that out of our minds as we looked forward to exploring the streets of the Big Apple!

Stock Photo by Abhir Joshi on Unsplash
Memorial at the New Freedom Tower

A few months later, we had finally arrived in New York! It was just as exciting, loud and fun as I expected it to be, and I got to see all the major sights. However, the day before I flew home, I figured it was about time to visit the site of the former Twin Towers. It had been around two-and-a-half years since I watched the 9/11 terrorist attacks unfold live on TV with the rest of the world, so I thought I would be somewhat prepared for my visit here. Some uni classmates and I arranged to go one afternoon. We jumped into an iconic yellow cab, chatting all the way there, and we were feeling rather jovial!

Though as soon as we got out of the taxi, the mood became instantly quiet and somber. We followed the signs to the World Trade Centre, which was just around the corner. It was a sight that will stay with me forever. After two-and-a-half years, the whole area still looked like a construction zone! Most of the buildings in the area were closed off, still covered in a thick layer of soot and dust from the towers collapsing. There were too many smashed windows to count. Some buildings were so badly damaged they had to be covered in a thick black mesh to stop rubble from falling onto the street. It was done in an attempt to make the area safer and to try and get back to a degree of normality. The whole scene was incredibly upsetting.

Stock Photo on Pixabay
This is what the makeshift plaques looked like during my visit from those who had lost their lives on 9/11

Since the site was still very much in the clean-up stage, there was no real memorial set up at the time, so people had stuck posters onto the fences to remember those who had died. It was like a makeshift wall of remembrance. Like us, many people had gone that day to pay their respects or lay flowers for those who lost their lives. There was fencing set up around the site and when I got close enough, I finally saw the giant gaping hole where the Twin Towers once stood, and I just felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! Despite having seen it on TV countless times, nothing could have prepared me for the emotion I felt as I stood there that day. It was a genuinely moving experience.

In 2006, I was back in New York again, and this time I was eager to see the progress that had been made at Ground Zero (This was the name given to the site after the collapse of the Twin Towers). After arriving in the city the night before, it was too late to go, so I decided to get a good night’s sleep before going first thing in the morning.

Stock Photo by Magnus Olsson on Unsplash
World Trade Centre Memorial

The next day, I jumped in a cab and headed down to the site. When I got there, I was completely blown away! It looked like a different area. The thick layer of dust was gone, there was no black mesh covering the buildings, and the broken windows were nowhere to be seen. The former site of the World Trade Centre had been completely rejuvenated and looked almost as good as new.  The difference was incredible! The huge gaping hole left by the collapse was still there, but only a small amount of debris now remained.

There was now a temporary memorial to the people who lost their lives, which had been erected on the site with the fallen victims’ names. This actually made me cry. It was very upsetting, as acts of terrorism bring so much grief and loss. The New Yorkers’ spirit is strong though, and they will never forget what happened here on 11th September 2001. The fallen will always be remembered. It’s good to see that everyone has chosen to return to normal, and not let the extremists win.

Stock Photo Unsplash
The New Freedom Tower

After returning from my second trip to New York, a decision was made to build a new skyscraper on the site. The building was completed in 2014 and aptly named the Freedom Tower. It now fits in perfectly with the cities stunning skyline. I can’t wait to go back one day and see it in the flesh.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the new 9/11 Museum built here as a tribute to the victims, their families, the firefighters, and the police (Click here to book tickets through VIATOR). It tells some of the heroic stories from that horrific event and helps to educate us on how and why this tragedy happened. It’s also a great up-yours to terrorism!

180 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007, USA | http://www.911memorial.org

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow…..it’s awesome that you have visited the Ground Zero. I remember I was only 15 when this tragedy happened. Until now I’m still curious about September 11. Somehow I believe September 11 is a conspiracy. Cool post! Thank you for sharing your experience at Ground Zero with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is a harrowing place to visit. I would love to go back and see the Freedom Tower and Memorial. I think everyone will always be curious about 9/11 as it was unexpected. Thanks so much for reading.

      Like

  2. Ellie says:

    I was there this day 4 years ago with my mum and friend. I can understand why you say it will stay with you forever. It felt so strange and overwhelming, seeing all the names of victims listed out in the museum,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so eerie, isn’t it? The first time we visited was the worst as everything was still covered in dust from the towers collapsing 😦 I’m interested to visit the museum though to pay my respects. Thanks so much for reading!

      Like

  3. Jaya Avendel says:

    I was not even born yet in 2001 so I have no memory of this historic day, yet I find myself emotional and moved reading accounts and listening to stories of people impacted by this event.

    I love that the Freedom Tower stands regally at the site and the museum tour sounds amazing and informative. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s crazy to think that such a long time has passed and some people we’re around for that horrific day. I’ll never forget it. Me too I love that the Freedom Tower stands tall and proud above New York and I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes one day. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an incredible place to visit and honour, it was amazing to read about your experiences..

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    1. Thanks so much. It definitely was upsetting to see it with my own eyes, but I’m glad I did. Thanks so much for commenting.

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  5. I have been twice, and both times the heaviness on my chest was so tight I ended up leaving in tears. One day, I hope I can get to visit the museum they have next to the fountains, for now, is just something I am not able to. I was a kid when it happened, I remember I was watching afternoon TV for kids and everything was stopped. We couldn’t understand, then, and still to this day what could bring people to such horrific acts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true Simona. I was just minding my own business and watching MTV, then the shows for the next week were canceled due to the world literally stopping! You’re right it is very difficult to visit, but something I’m glad I did to pay my respects. I don’t think we’ll ever understand the minds of evil people. Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

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  6. I was living in Doha when 9/11 happened. I remember watching in disbelief as it all unfolded on TV. During several visits to NYC over the years, I saw ground zero site in various stages of construction. Would be great to go back one day and see it in its current state.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such a horrific thing to watch, wasn’t it? I will stay with us all forever. Me too, I would love to go back and see the Freedom Tower now and the museum. I bet it would be emotional to see but worth the effort. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wasn’t even born when this happened, but seeing all the footage from that day is still extremely moving. I would love to visit Ground Zero to pay my respects one day, as well as the museum – visiting memorials like these are so important. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, regardless of your age, whether you were alive or not at the time, the news footage is absolutely horrific to watch, isn’t it? I watched the whole thing unfold on TV. It’s awful, but there is nothing worse than seeing the huge pile of rubble that was left from the collapse, which was still there a couple of years later when I visited. Thanks so much for reading and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ruth says:

    You know I never really knew what 9/11 was all about until I saw it trending lately. I wasn’t even born when this happened. If I ever get the opportunity, I would love to visit the ground zero one day. I hope the victims of 9/11 rest in perfect peace! Thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s crazy, isn’t it? It only happened 20 years ago and some have never heard of it. Definitely go if you have the opportunity. It’s very confronting. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  9. This must have been a touching and upsetting visit, and one you will remember forever. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely is something I’ll never forget 😦 thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember visiting the site and taking in the sombre atmosphere. Such a lovely blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very sad, isn’t it? I really want to see the Freedom Tower though, and the museum to pay my respects. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Meilifisayo says:

    I remember when I heard the news but I was so young at that time so I didn’t understand the magnitude of it all. It’s good you were able to visit the ground zero and hopefully if I ever step food in the US I might visit New York too and see the freedom tower

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of people have been telling me that they were too young to really remember. In a way I envy them, some of the things I saw that day, I wish I hadn’t 😦 I’ll defo go back one day and see it. Plus, the USA is awesome and my bucket list grows all the time for this country HA HA. 🙂

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  12. I remember watching the the event unfold on TV after getting a text about it. I was home alone at my partner’s parents house at the time. It’s not something you forget, much like when the Berlin wall came down or Chernobyl, all of which I remember.

    Because I grew up in the UK while the IRA were still active, acts of terrorism were common place in the news. But that doesn’t prepare you for something on this scale. The world was forever changed by this single event

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean I grew up in Manchester in the UK, so we were forever hearing about IRA bombs and stuff. Then came the terrorist attacks in New York and everything seemed to change overnight! It was so scary. It’s not something you forget like you say. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve never been to NYC at all but if I ever did go, I’d definitely like to visit the site. I bet it’s definitely something that’ll stay with you forever x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really will stay with you forever. I hope you get to see it one day, as I’d love to go back. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Like

  14. Corinne says:

    I would love to visit this if I ever get to go to New York. I expect it is an awful, harrowing experience.

    Corinne x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was Corinne. But I am glad I went back both times to see the progress. I’d love to go back again and see the Freedom Tower and the museum. I think it would be eerie but worth doing 🙂

      Like

  15. I have yet to visit New York, but will definitely visit the 9/11 Museum when I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! I think it’s something everyone should visit one day. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Like

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