Teaching 9/11-Visiting the Memorial

For most of our children, the memories will primarily be secondhand stories. To them, 9/11 is history. We provide children with an opportunity to research the stories and write their own history of this horrific event. In doing so, they will remind us why it’s important we all remember. The official website contains parent guides for you and your children.

The National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site contains two reflecting pools—one in each footprint of the original towers—are surrounded by the names of the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks—all beautifully etched in bronze panels. Finding parking (we parked uptown and took the R train down to Rector Street, or better yet take the train from Ridgewood to the WTC PATH) and getting through security (better than what you go through at the airport) can be an exercise in frustration. But it’s worth it when you finally step onto the eight-acre memorial site, and you see someone running his fingers over a name, and you realize you’re walking the same plot of land where the victims were once buried. And even though much of the memorial complex is still under construction, including the museum portion, it’s inspiring to get a closeup view of the One World Trade Center, 1,776 feet of resolve on its way to completion in another year or so. Don’t forget to ask them where the tree is planted that survived the 9/11 attack.

The 9/11 museum has now opened. The museum is a tribute to the victims, to the survivors — and to their loved ones. Numerous exhibits feature photographs, audio, videotapes and recorded testimonies connected to September 11, 2001 and also to the February 26, 1993, WTC bombing. The ticket prices start at $24. This is a very moving exhibit so you may want to go for the first time without your children.

Some tips if you want to visit the memorial:

  • We reserved tickets before we went so we didn’t have to wait on any lines once we arrived. Tickets are free and you can go here to make a reservation.
  • No restrooms are available! So make sure you find one before heading to the site.
  • Electronic directories with a “Find a Name” button can help you locate one’s name on the bronze panels. My son wanted to locate all 10 Ridgewood residents’ names, which was easy to do with the town search button. You can also look up the placement of names before you go on the website.
  • Timed-entry passes are not set in stone as long as you arrive after your time scheduled. We arrived 15 minutes late and they still let us in.
  • The Memorial is beautiful anytime but the fountains are lit at night.
  • No large bags are permitted on the premises.
  • You must show a valid photo ID before getting in.
  • The Memorial encourages visitors to place tribute items on the ground in front of the Memorial pools or on the bronze Memorial Names themselves. No tribute items larger than 8”x17”x19” will be permitted onto the Memorial.
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Author: erinpruitt

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