Nearly 13 years later, the world officially has a place that captures the emotion and heroism of the horrific Sept. 11 attacks. And let me tell you, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is an amazing and truly inspiring place to remember the people that were so tragically taken from this world.
To take part in the experience of the museum is to relive history. I understand that for many of you, the emotion is still too raw. But I urge you to go when you’re ready. The purpose of the museum is to ensure that everyone, for generations to come, will remember — and, more important, never forget — what took place on Sept. 11, 2001.
Not everyone shares my sentiments.
On May 15, President Obama and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the $700 million museum. Obama began the solemn dedication ceremony by defining the museum as a sacred place of healing and hope.
The president was right. So that you can truly experience history, the museum includes graphic videos of skyscrapers collapsing and people falling from them along with symbols of bravery, such as damaged fire trucks and the wristwatch of one of the airline passengers who confronted the hijackers. The date on the watch is Sept. 11.
But it wasn’t the videos or voicemails that upset some of the relatives of the victims. It was the fact that the museum also features a gift shop and a café, and that a party was held there the night before it opened to the public. A family member of a victim wrote a letter to the New York Post describing the gift shop as “the crassest, most insensitive thing to have a commercial enterprise at the place where my son died.”
This parent had every right to express emotion, and we all respect the sorrow of those who lost loved ones.
Bloomberg and his team did a tremendous job of fundraising for the museum, and they should be commended. In 2006, the mayor took over as chairman of the board after cost projections soared to $1 billion and stakeholders wasted years on debating designs. Bloomberg raised an astonishing $450 million. If it weren’t for him, Joe Daniels and their team, the museum would probably still be in shambles and not be open right now.