Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta designs 9/11 Memorial Museum pavilion
A PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE
By Bill Osmundsen
Norwegian American Weekly
On Sept. 11, 2001, the sunny, clear autumn morning in New York City started out as any busy commuter weekday. At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines flight #11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, almost initially perceived as an airline accident, it was closely followed by United Airlines flight #175 which slammed into the South Tower. They were not coincidental accidents – the U.S. was under attack, the planes had been used as devastating bombs.
Within two hours both buildings would collapse. The North Tower, where the plane had severed stairway escape routes, lost the most: 1,366 people. The South Tower lost 600. An estimated 200 people simply leapt out of windows rather than be burned alive.
Two hundred FDNY (Fire Departments of New York City) would respond. They would also suffer a devastating loss of 343 lives. NYPD, the New York Police Department, lost 60.
People I know, who lived close by in the NOHO/SOHO area and all the way up to lower Midtown, witnessed this plume of acrid air and smoke. The heavy air was a mix of concrete, steel, fuel and burning bodies. The devastation spread to nearby buildings but miraculously each twin tower simply collapsed into its own footprint.
People from all over the country came to help in the aftermath. It was an American tragedy, but even more so, it was a New York tragedy – burdened and absorbed by hardy New Yorkers.
The wound left in lower Manhattan has taken years to heal. Everyone felt the importance of somehow memorializing the site. There have been many designs considered, many starts and stops to finally arrive at the elegant and living memorial which will open to the public Sept. 12, 2011.
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