Fifteen Years Ago…
On September 11th, 2001, thousands of people fled what many will always remember as an unbelievably nightmarish day in the history of America.
This structural miracle allowed many to make it down, and out, to live another day.
Known today as the “Survivors Stairs’,” this concrete artifact is one of the few above ground remains; an authentic “silent witness” to the horrific events of 9/11.
Some years later, when New York City’s National September 11 Memorial Museum opened, the historic Vesey Street stairs were painstakingly moved and put on display.
There were those who didn’t see the point, understand the expense, want to hear or read about possibly additional peril getting them there.
Few of which, by the way, were survivors, or their families. To these survivors, it still means a lot.
One survivor called them: “The stairs to freedom.” They were better protected by over-hangs, which kept understandably desperate escapees safe from falling objects.
Another referred to the stairs as a “Symbolic Remanent”of the grace that in thousands of cases prevailed that day.
Patty Clark called them a wonderful metaphor. “They survived, a little worse for wear, inalterably changed, but they survived.”
Upon reflection, this is how she and a close friend who also made it out feel. Their journey back from this horror is still on-going.
Even though the “Survivors Stairs'” were in much better condition right after the attack then they are now [because of their move to the Memorial Museum], they are on display as part of the experience some 9/11 survivors lived on this fateful day.
They serve as an bittersweet reminder of what happened. They, along with other artifacts will help educate those of the future who only know of 9/11 as another date in the history books.
To make light of them is to do a disservice to those who in the smoke, dust, and the dark descended them, and to the many thousands of others who didn’t get this chance.