We gathered at the CWB at ten o clock and got ready to leave. We met our bus driver, Julio, our tour leader, Jack, and all got on the bus. We drove into New York City, all very excited. We were dropped off by the 9/11 museum. We walked through the intense security and through the building. Most of us on the trip were very young or not alive when 9/11 happened, so it was moving to see all of the artifacts, and hear peoples’ voices. Projected words of people in every language explained how people felt during 9/11. There were large chunks of the building on display, and personal items belonging to people who died. We learned about the firefighters and EMS responders, and how amazing and brave they were. Around the square fountain were the names of the people who died. Also, there were oak trees, like the one people found at Ground Zero that was nursed back to health.
We got back on the bus, and headed to the Tenement Museum. It was so cold outside! We met our very nice tour guide, and she talked to us about Ellis Island, and we became immigrants in 1916. We then met a girl named Victoria, who was from Greece, and told us about life in America. She was outgoing and welcoming. After that we talked about America, and what that means. We found it hard to describe America in a way that wasn’t stereotypical. Then, we looked around the gift store, which is always fun. We got back on the bus and drove to Schnippers Kitchen for dinner. We had hamburgers, sloppy joes, mac and cheese, and very good milkshakes. Fed, we got on the bus and drove to Philadelphia, where we stayed the night.
What we took away from the day was the effects and fear around 9/11, and that America is a hard thing do define. One of the themes of this Field Academy is ‘how is memory sustained’. At the 9/11 museum, it’s sustained by showing new generations the tragedy, and personal artifacts from the twin towers that give a personal feeling. At the tenement museum, it’s sustained by living it. Our faithful mascot and companion Carl the Dragonite followed us everywhere.
-Milly, Sophie, and Diana