Saturday, September 5, 2009

Our 30th Anniversary - Chapter 7: World Trade Center

One afternoon, we spent an extended amount of time at the site where the World Trade Center once stood. There is nothing more of those buildings left to be seen ... the clean up was completed several years ago. However, right across the street is the WTC Visitors Center, which was well worth the seeing.

Inside were many displays, photos, memorial pieces, quotes, and videos telling the story of the event and the aftermath. Below are two such displays, one a fireman's gear and the other a piece of twisted steel girder from the rubble.

As you can imagine, it was quite a somber time, evoking many memories of that day. But what struck us most, the point where we became the most emotional, was a wall with photos of all 3,000 or so victims.

You may know the New York has approved plans for rebuilding a magnificent Freedom Tower and other buildings (artist rendition - below left). The area is under construction (below right), and it was a hub of activity, but will take many years to complete.

Right next door was Fire Station 10, immediately across from the WTC site. Firemen from this station were the first on scene after the airplanes hit. We don't know that the station is still active, but it has become a landmark and memorial of its own.

Below are memorial plaques mounted on the wall of the "Ten House", on the left one remembering the six from "Ten House" who died and the other remembering all 343 who died in all.

On the side of Ten House is a bronze memorial plaque that is about 25' long. It was too long to photo well, so we tried to capture it in the video below. (Click to play).

About a block away is St Paul's Church. Prior to 2001, St Paul's was best know as the only remaining church structure from the colonial New York era, and the church at which President George Washington went for prayer immediately after his first inauguration. (Remember that he was president before Washington DC was chosen to be the nation's capitol, and the beginning of of his first term was served in New York City.)

9/11 brought new notoriety to St Paul's. Although the church yard and grounds were strewn with debris after the towers fell, the church itself was largely unscathed. It soon became the headquarters for the rescue and recovery effort, a service it provided round the clock for nearly six months. Crews from around the US rallied from this church. Dozens of cots were brought in and meals were served.

Here is "George Washington's Pew" - a place reserved for him while he worshipped there. This is very similar to the one we saw in the church in Alexandria VA (see our Alexandria blog post).

A couple of displays inside the building recalling the days of the recovery efforts.

Rescue and recovery crews came from around the US to serve and support. They all left one unit patch when they left, which are shown in this collection.

Banners and well-wishes poured in from around the country and the world. This one from Oklahoma still hangs in the church.

It was a very sobering time of remembrance for us. We are grateful to have experienced it, and to have seen both the New York and Pentagon Memorials.

Coming up next - our anniversary day and the big Broadway show.

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