ShareThis Page
Nation

9/11 museum embraces hallowed artifacts of strike

| Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
The original stairway from the World Trade Center Plaza to Vesey Street, left, is seen during a media tour of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in New York. Construction is racing ahead inside the museum as the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks draws near. Several more large artifacts have been installed in the cavernous space below the World Trade Center memorial plaza. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
The original stairway from the World Trade Center Plaza to Vesey Street, left, is seen during a media tour of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in New York. Construction is racing ahead inside the museum as the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks draws near. Several more large artifacts have been installed in the cavernous space below the World Trade Center memorial plaza. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A photographer take a picture of steel column from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during a media tour of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in New York. Construction is racing ahead inside the museum as the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks draws near. Several more large artifacts have been installed in the cavernous space below the World Trade Center memorial plaza. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A photographer take a picture of steel column from the North Tower of the World Trade Center during a media tour of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013 in New York. Construction is racing ahead inside the museum as the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks draws near. Several more large artifacts have been installed in the cavernous space below the World Trade Center memorial plaza. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — Far below the earth where the twin towers once stood, a cavernous museum on hallowed ground is finally nearing completion.

Amid the construction machinery and the dust, powerful artifacts of death and destruction have assumed their final resting places inside the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

A vast space that travels down to the bedrock upon which the towers were built, the museum winds its way deeper and deeper underground, taking visitors on a journey to the very bottom.

Already on display are several pieces of mangled steel and metal recovered from the World Trade Center towers, each one telling a different story of the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The first relics that visitors will see are two gigantic pieces of structural steel that rose from the base of the North Tower. Now the rusty red columns soar above ground into the sunlit glass atrium that encloses the entrance to the museum.

“They're so large — about 70 feet tall — that we built the museum around them,” explained Joseph Daniels, president of the memorial and museum.

Down a long ramp, visitors will peer down to glimpse the last piece of steel removed from Ground Zero in 2002, which sits inside a gaping silvery chamber that drops to the lowest level of the museum.

Farther down the ramp, visitors will discover a mangled and twisted piece of steel that Daniels calls “impact steel.” That's because this piece of the building was destroyed by the impact of Flight 11 slamming into the North Tower.

“You can see how, at the bottom, the columns are bent back,” Daniels said. “That's because Flight 11's nose, when it pierced the building, it bent steel like that.”

Perhaps the most chilling part of the museum, in its current form, is a battered staircase that leads down to bedrock, where the exhibits will be displayed. Sandwiched between an escalator and a staircase that will be used by museum visitors, the “survivor's stairs” provided an escape route for hundreds of people who fled the towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me