Visiting the 9/11 Memorial is a hard place to visit

By Liz Leonard '21

Last summer the West Deptford Girls’ Soccer Team took a three-day long trip to New York where we had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial was a very unique experience that I would recommend to everyone. The museum is filled with stories of those who were in the Twin Towers, those who were in each of the airplanes, and the family members of all those who passed. There’s one section where you can listen to all the phone calls people on the airplane made to their families. You listen to these people’s last moments, and you just realize how heartbreaking it was. It’s hard to take in everything that happened in the memorial; everything is just so somber. When you walk through the museum, it’s hard not to break down, I didn’t live during this event, but I broke down a lot just reading and listening to these people’s last moments.
There’s one place in the museum that really hits hard. There’s a small room that is extremely dark and has benches lining the walls. You sit in the room and along the walls projects a picture of a person from the Twin Towers and their story. I remember when we had first entered the room. We all just sat there listening to the end of one person’s story. We were all patiently waiting to see if Nick Brandemarti’s name would appear on the wall, and in fact, it was the first story to be fully told when we entered the room. Personally, I didn’t know Nick Brandemarti, but of course, I knew who he was for the West Deptford legend that he is. We all sat there, and we listened to the story of Nick, and it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Some of the coaches of the team knew him personally, but none of the girls really did. Yet we all sat there together heartbroken over the loss of his life.
I didn’t know Nick Brandemarti, but when we left, it certainly felt like I knew a part of him. That’s what I felt like when I heard a lot of people’s stories. You don’t know these people when you walk in the doors, but when you walk out, it almost feels like you know them. The 9/11 Memorial is a hard place to visit. The Memorial isn’t just a place where you learn about the people who lost their lives on 9/11, or the people who lost their lives trying to save people. It is a place where you go in, knowing you will cry a lot, but you will come out having a whole new perspective on life. You come out appreciating that you’re still here, and you come out knowing that you need to appreciate the little moments before they’re gone. The 9/11 Memorial is a hard place to visit, but it is a place you should 100% visit. I only do learn about a past event that changed the course of history, but you also learn how to appreciate the one we are in.