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I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew I had to go. Last June was my first visit to New York City since 9/11 and I had to see ground zero as an act of respect. (I explore this need in a post on Why We Go to Sad Places.) And I wanted to visit the WTC Tribute Center.
What I found was smaller than I expected and far more significant.
A project of the September 11th Families' Association, the WTC Tribute Center has 6,000 square feet of exhibit and educational space in one of downtown New York City’s historic buildings at 120 Liberty Street. Its located next to FDNY firehouse 10/10 and across from the World Trade Center site.
While the exhibits focus on the World Trade Center, all events of September 11th are presented in the galleries on the ground floor. Like the events of the day, the exhibit is not linear. They jump around from New York to Washington where Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37, back to New York, then to Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed at 10:03 and back to New York again. The chaos of the day is reflected in the presentation of the exhibits. While specific information is shared, the emphasis is on personal stories and the impact of the attack on individual lives. Visitors are left with impressions and emotions.
And, as the tour continues to the lower level, visitors enter the education center where more personal stories are told, this time about people committing themselves to volunteer, teach and reach out at home and around the globe. Visitors are encouraged to consider how they can contribute to an improved global community, read the thoughts of others on this issue who have visited before them and contribute their own thoughts.
Walking tours of the World Trade Center area are also available.
This Center is well worth the visit.