NEW YORK (CBS 2) – For many New Yorkers, it will become a new place to remember, reflect and pay tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11.
The September 11th Memorial Museum is taking shape below the World Trade Center site, and CBS 2’s Chris Wragge got an up close look at what visitors will soon see there.
They will descend to the museum, seven stories below where the towers stood.
The unidentified remains of victims will be placed behind a wall at Memorial Hall, with the wall itself serving as a powerful symbol.
“The wall becomes the place that is a boundary remembering the dividing line between us and them,” said Alice Greenwald, the museum director. “And that is the story of 9/11, because were people happened to be on 9/11 determined whether they lived or died.”
Powerful artifacts will be displayed, including the last column left standing, a marker of the end of the recovery effort – covered in tributes from construction workers, rescue personnel and family members.
“The column for us represents the dignity of human response after 9/11,” Greenwald said. “We honor those who died but we should also remember what happened on 9/12, and the months after and the days after.”
Greenwald refers to the staircase that will be displayed in the museum as “the Survivor’s Staircase,” a means of escape for hundreds of people. She said it represents the endurance of those whose lives were saved, but it can also be viewed in a larger context.
“It allows us to make the point that all of us who live in the post 9/11 world live in a world that is defined by this event,” said Greenwald. “In that sense, we’re all survivors.”
And the history of the World Trade Center is on display as well. The slurry wall, the original bedrock and the concrete and steel foundation plates from which the towers grew. Architects say you can’t tell the story of 9/11 without telling the story of the towers.
“The Trade center was chosen as a target for many reasons,” said architect Steven Davis. “It seems to me that the symbolism of the Trade Center is part of that reason.”
Anthoula Katsimatides, whose brother died in the attacks, was moved by what she saw.
“I was overwhelmed with emotion,” she said. “In my wildest dream I didn’t think it would come to fruition as beautifully as it has.”
Museum directors say they hope to honor those lost in a profound way by educating for the future and reminding us that in the face of the worst behavior, the best of humanity is also the legacy of 9/11.
“We remembering our capability for goodness,” said Greenwald.
The Museum is scheduled to open in September 2012.