9/11 Memorial–#GMFamilyFun– Lessons for our children

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One of the first things that we did on our trip to New York City as part of our #GMFamilyFun vacation was to visit the 9/11 Memorial.  There really are no words to describe what an impactful experience this was.  It was very high on our ‘must-see’ list. 
If you plan on seeing the monument, there are a few things that you must take into consideration: in order to see the monument, you must make reservations as they only permit a certain amount of people per hour.  As a Tiny Travel Tip: make sure that you do this before hand because the line-ups can be very long just to get a ticket.  You can do this on-line and print the tickets before hand.  Otherwise, you will need to pick them up at the visitor’s centre (that is four blocks from the memorial). 

Be prepared to wait in line and to go through the same security routine that you would have in an airport: checked bags, metal detectors, security cameras, ticket checks (multiple times), police and security guards EVERYWHERE.  {I had to take this picture because to a Canadian, the idea of having to actually illustrate that no guns, tazers, switchblades or pepper spray are permitted, was amusing to me because we don’t tend to have any of these items with us Winking smile}.


Since they are building two new office towers in the area adjacent to the fallen towers, there is a lot of construction work going on around the memorial.  The noise of the construction, the traffic, the hustle & bustle of this huge city fades into the background as you enter the grounds. It has a bit of a surreal feeling.  The space is very open and you are struck by the noise of the water plunging down the black granite walls.


There is a pool each for the north and south towers.  The dark black granite plunges into the ground at a square opening that appears to be bottomless.  As you try, in vain, to see where to bottom ends, you realize that is was designed so you could not.  It is at the same time peaceful and eerie. As I discussed this with my aunt, she told me she felt a sense of calm and serenity. I found the bottomless ‘pit’ effect a bit ominous. The adults relived where we were and what we were doing when we heard or saw what happened on September 11, 2001.

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9/11 Memorial Pools–Waterfall

We relived the stories with our children so that they could understand what we saw, how we felt, where we where.  It was 11 years ago (I know because my son was born three months before 9/11).  My second daughter would have been in bed and my oldest was at school, my husband was at work.  I was at home watching TV in bed and talking to my brother-in-law.  We were incredulous about what was unfolding before our eyes.  We commented that this would be our ‘Kennedy’ moment – the defining moment of our generation.


The monument is very large and the names of all the victims that died that day are engraved in the black granite.  At one end, you can see these terminals where you can search for a person’s name and then it will tell you where to find the name. 


Between the two water falls, they are building a 9/11 Memorial Museum that should be opened by the end of the year.  The photo above is the mirrored widows of the museum with the brand new building reflected.


This whole experience was memorable and a teachable moment for our three children and those moments are what we strive for in life. I am so glad that we went to see it.

IMG01837-20120731-1251All the Blogher12 post are part of our #GMFamilyFun experiences which were made possible because I got a sweet ride to New York City courtesy of GM Canada.  I could not have had these great opportunities without their assistance. Thanks.Winking smile. A lot.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.

16 thoughts on “9/11 Memorial–#GMFamilyFun– Lessons for our children”

  1. Its so important that family, as parents explain to our children what happened on 9/11. This is the best way to help children comprehend the events without so much fear. I also know each of us will remember where we were on that fateful day for the rest of our lives.

  2. What a great experience for your family to do together. A meaningful experience.
    I’ve been to Ground Zero a number of times but not since the memorial has been completed.

    Thank you for sharing at Travel Tuesday (and for guest hosting this week).

  3. What an amazing experience this must have been for you and your family. I remember that morning well. I was at work and we’d just opened for the day so there was a lot going on, but we had the radio playing softly in the background when my co-worker or I heard the news. At first we were confused as to the details – was it New York or Chicago? – we had no immediate sense of the impact of that news item which would soon become apparent.

  4. The last time I went to NYC they had just started construction on these so I’m really glad you posted this. It is so interesting to see what they did with it. I really want to visit now!

  5. What a great experience to share with your kids. My nine-year old wants to go to NYC and see the monument too so it’s great to have some tips on what to expect and the best way to approach such a tragic subject. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ll never forget how moved I was when I first visited NYC and saw where the World Trade Center once stood. I was as equally moved the next year when we went back and saw the progress made. Such an incredible tribute.

  7. Loved your post. Most New Yorkers and I include myself have not been to the memorial. As someone who watched the South Tower get hit and then watched them fall. It’s still hard for me to even watch the new building go up.

    I do want to visit but happy to see your photos and tips.

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