I did go to this museum. I went inside, spent 5 minutes walking uncomfortably through it, and then had to leave.
I get that it’s raising money (I don’t know exactly for what; I’m hoping the 9/11 fund goes to the families of those killed, but I have no idea). I understand that everyone grieves and deals with tragedy differently, and that for some people, this museum may be a tribute to the lives of those lost, and to the unkillable spirit of the American people. It may be comforting to some, whether they personally knew someone who died, or were just caught up in the coming-togetherness that the horrible day did undoubtedly inspire in our nation. Maybe–though I can’t imagine how–it gives some of the family members a feeling of peace instead of an unsettling pit of discomfort in their stomachs when they walk through this place.
But personally, I couldn’t stomach it. It’s possible that in 100 years, the September 11 attacks will be a part of history like any other violent part of our collective past. And just because something makes me uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for it, and that it isn’t somehow doing good for others. I wasn’t in New York in 2001, so I certainly can’t speak for anyone but myself when I note my reaction.
I just know that I’m never going to want to see the “survivor stairs.” Even though, based on its name, I’m assuming many of the people who took those stairs did in fact make it out okay, thinking about their terror and confusion while navigating that staircase isn’t something I want to do after paying an entry fee. Maybe that makes me a wimp. Maybe some of the survivors feel very differently and appreciate that there’s a reminder recognizing the worst day of their lives. Maybe they view it as a symbol of the fact that even while so many human beings perished that day, some of them emerged to keep on breathing another day.
I do hope the museum is comforting in some way, or at the very least cathartic, to those who experienced the tragic day first-hand. Otherwise, why is it here?