Travel – The Big Apple: Day 4B The 9/11 Museum

Ladder 3 from the FDNY recovered from the scene 9/11/2001. There are a few emergency vehicle manufacturers in Wisconsin. R Dub has worked with all of them. I could not help but search for the manufacture of this one. The name plate simply read “grave”, which seemed like adisturbingly apt name for this vehicle. However, after a while, I did figure it out…Seagrave Fire Apparatus out of Clintonville, WI is the manufacture of this pumper.

It has been my MO to insert factoids into Ron’s Rambling’s that feature destinations or events. We will depart from that MO for this post about the 9/11 museum. This post is all about my thoughts and feelings the tour evoked both during and after our visit.

Each generation have moments in time that are remembered for a lifetime. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President Kennedy, the space shuttle Challenger explosion, and 9/11/2001.

This post is written more than 21 years after the event, but the museum evoked strong emotion. Sure, we reflect each September 11 on what we were doing at the time of the attacks. The lost lives, the fear, the anger, the suspension of air travel, the beginning of Homeland Security, the dawn of TSA. The events of this day changed many things in our day to day lives. Younger generations have lived their entire lives with what our generation calls changes that 9/11 forced upon us. It is simply life to them.

We visited the World Trade Center on Tuesday, and saw both memorial pools, the survival tree and many other memorial exhibits, but the museum was closed. Wanting to see and know more, we chose to return on Thursday to tour the museum. For $8 each we rented headphones that narrated each area of the museum prior to entering the museum. The narration was helpful, but at some point, the intensity of hearing the sounds from the day became too much, so I took the headset off about 2/3 through the museum.

The experience combines narration, media recordings from the day, survivor interviews, dispatch recordings and cockpit recordings from the 4 planes utilized as weapons that fateful day.

Watching and listening to the network reports brought my mind back to the day. Initial reports told the world that a single plane had flown into one of the twin towers. What size plane was the plane? Single occupant we hoped. Perhaps a pilot that had a medical emergency or a person committing suicide. As we would soon discover, suicide was just part of the story.

By now reporters and bystanders were on the scene recording live when plane number 2 slammed into the other twin tower. This plane was caught on camera, speculation became revelation with the second impact. This was no accident; it was an attack.

Soon after, reports came from the pentagon. A third plane was used as a weapon. I remember wondering if this would go on all day. Fear set in. What was next?

Next was the flight intended for the White House or the House of Representatives or Senate. No one knows for sure, several brave souls on that hijacked flight fought off the terrorists who drive the plane into a corn field in Pennsylvania.

Video of people jumping from the floors above the crash to avoid being burned to death may be the worst memory of all.

The sights and sounds brought back many feelings, most of them not good. However, there one sound that evoked both bad and good memories of the event. The sound that a firefighter’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA or airpack or Scott pack) makes when the firefighter is motionless for too long. This device is called a Personal Alert Safety System (PASS or ‘man down alarm).

R Dub sold safety equipment in 2001, and SCBA was one of the items I sold. So, I knew, when watching video from 9/11, that that sound meant a firefighter was most likely dead. Video from the scene on 9/11 was riddled with multiple PASS units blaring. Those of us in the business knew there were MANY emergency responder casualties without the media telling us. When I heard the sound in the museum it brought that horrible reality to mind.

9/11/2001 also ushered in a new spirit of volunteerism. First responders and volunteer workers from across the USA converged on New York city in the hours, days and months post 9/11. Many to help search for survivors, and victims. Many to begin the clean up and recovery. Many to feed, provide medical assistance and generally be moral back up. Enlistment into the armed services spiked in the months following.

Without the museum, it is difficult to picture just how ugly the day was. The aftermath compared to the rebuild and memorials is stark. We are glad we went back on Thursday; the museum is a must see. Never forget, always move forward.

The slurry wall. Had the collapse made these walls fail, the entire area would’ve been flooded on top of all the other damage done.
Survivor’s staircase.
The last column standing.
Recovered stainless steel pedestal with engraved dedication: “In commemoration of the skill and industry of the thousands of construction workers and Port Authority personnel whose efforts created the World Trade Center | World Trade Center dedication day April 4 1973.” The pedestal is damaged with dents, deep scratches, and discoloration.
Historical Notes
This stainless steel pedestal, engraved with a dedication to personnel who contributed to the building of the original World Trade Center, was salvaged from its wreckage after 9/11.

Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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