We had a decent docent at the 9/11 World Trade Centers Memorial when we visited in October 2022. He might have been born before September 11, 2001, but probably not much before. He pointed out and explained many of the exhibits at Ground Zero (see below the videos).
Afterwards we visited the part of the exhibit where pictures of those who died are displayed with stories about them. A sad place. Then we came across a guide who was talking about the World Trade Centers on that day. In the video below, she details what happened: How much fuel the planes were carrying, how far into the buildings the jets penetrated, how long the towers stood until the beams melted and folded, allowing 15,000 people to escape, including herself. Then she asked for questions. First one: Tell us how you got out?
So then she told us about how thousands of New Yorkers left the buildings — not in the way you might imagine.
This was the best part of our tour that day, and there was only one question left to be asked, and I did not ask it: What was her name?
Here are some of the other exhibits at the Memorial:
The Vesey Street stairs, now known as the “Survivors Stairs,” were intact after the collapse of the World Trade Center. They were to be destroyed until a federal review process found evidence from survivors, preservationists and other advocates that the stairs should be saved.
Still standing, the Last Column, or Column 1001B, was near a spot where many first responders died. The remains of some missing members of Fire Department New York Squad 41 were found nearby, and “SQ41” was painted on the column, the first of many marking those who died.
Eleven members of FDNY Ladder Company 3, led by Capt. Patrick John Brown, entered the North Tower before it fell. They were among 343 fire fighters who died that day.