This week a number of sophomores learned more about one of the most tragic events in United States’ history. A trip to the 9/11 Memorial Museum is an emotional experience, and students gained insights regarding some of the individuals who performed selflessly in order to save lives. The following are a few student narratives about what they saw, heard, and learned from their time at the museum.
The 9/11 terrorists attacks were a very pivotal moment in American history. As a kid, not being born to witness the attacks, I was always gravitated towards that moment. But yesterday, October 12th, I learned a lot more than I thought I would. I somewhat thought I was an expert until I went to the museum. I learned more about the lives lost and the significance of the people who helped during the attacks.
When people think about the lives lost during the 9/11 attacks, many think of the people in the buildings. And while that was the majority, no one recognized that many first responders lost their lives trying to save and rescue the people in the building. A part of the exhibit was a recovered fire truck, where half of the truck had been crushed by falling debris. I was fascinated by the way many first responders risked their lives to help others.
A fact that will stick with me forever is when our tour guide said that 9/11 is one of the most successful evacuations in American history. Many don’t think about the lives saved when talking about 9/11. But truly, about 15,000 lives were saved as they were able to successfully exit and evacuate the building.
Overall the trip was eye opening. In such a short amount of time, the Twin Towers were struck. Close to 3,000 people died, but many lived. And through the living we are able to retell their stories and keep their memories alive.
Once we got to the museum and I saw the memorial pool, feelings started to come over me. I couldn’t believe that over 22 years ago, the Twin Towers stood right there. We went inside, went through the scanners and met with our tour guide. She gave us the rundown on what we were going to do and see. We went to the basement of the building and immediately we saw these iconic historic structures. The artifacts that struck me the most were the firetruck and over two thousand blue squares of paper on one wall. They represent all the victims who lost their lives that day in New York City and in Washington D.C. That firetruck carried the first responders to the North Tower that was hit first. It looked so damaged. The front was completely gone. Luckily, none of the firemen were in there. Then there was a section where you could press these elevator buttons that told the stories of the people who helped clean up the site. They explained how this event really brought people together for the greater good of society.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum had many significant artifacts. They had a fire truck that was salvaged from the wreckage, pieces of clothing and gear from people helping out, and even parts of buildings that were salvaged. We learned that someone that was in one of the towers used a window wiper to break through sheetrock that fell into an elevator. We visited the pool outside the museum where the towers were and left origami flowers for the victims. Overall, we gained valuable information about what occurred that day and were able to see some cool artifacts in the process.
The Memorial museum was really interesting and sad since there were a lot of people who lost their lives. We learned that there were four hijacked planes, two hit the Twin Towers, one hit the Pentagon, and the last one was heading to Washington, D.C. , but it crashed in Pennsylvania “because of the selfless and courageous actions of the 40 passenger and crew members on board“.
I also learned that there is a wall to keep the Hudson River water out of the tunnel that connected both buildings. Some people were worried that the wall would start collapsing since it had cracks in it, but the wall is still standing to this day. There was also a pillar that held the south tower, still standing after everything collapsed. People put their loved ones’ pictures on it to remember them. We learned about a man who was a window cleaner who was going to the cafe on the higher floors in the elevator with a few other employees. When the elevator suddenly started falling, they pressed the emergency stop button and opened the door just to a wall. However, the window cleaner used to be a cement installer, so he knew that the wall was thin enough to break through, so they were able to break through the wall and go down the stairs to escape.
On my trip to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, I learned a lot about first responders and how each life really matters and is unique. The first thing we spoke about was how blue the sky was just a few minutes before the attack. There is a mural on a wall stating, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time” – Virgil. The mural had exactly 2,983 blue squares with each square a different shade from the other. It is scientifically proven that each square was different representing that each person was important and the death was not just a number. That was my favorite part personally as 2,983 is a really big number, but now my perspective has changed in realizing that this big number is made up of individuals who had families and friends, hopes and dreams.
Yesterday on Oct.12.23 many other students and I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It is an emotional place filled with many different objects from the day of the tragic event, such as the tridents that were the foundations that held the Twin Towers. We talked about at what time the Towers fell and how multiple planes were hijacked to destroy the two towers. Our tour guide explained how an extremist group, Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden was behind the attack, and that they were motivated by their beliefs and grievances against the United States which destroyed many lives and families. She also told us about a person who used to clean windows and how he was taking the elevator with other people, and that the elevator started to shake. He quickly pressed the stop button but the door was left open so he used the sharp side of his window squeegee to dig through the the thin layer of the wall and after making a hole he dropped the squeegee down the in the elevator hole, so he and the others in the elevator started kicking and punching breaking away the wall to get out as the smoke started to fill up the elevator. After she finished our tour some students and I wandered around the museum and came across the 9/11 hall. We saw many documentaries and videos of how the planes crashed into the towers and also saw the different point of views of the crashes.