Firefighters Justin Enzmann, left, and James Davilio look at exhibits in the new Tribute WTC Visitor Center, Sept 6 in New York.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Chief Billy Goldfeder Commentary
This past Wednesday afternoon, a Ground Zero visitors center opened in a once shattered storefront on Liberty St., right next door to the FDNY "10 House". Following months of construction, the 6,000-square-foot Tribute WTC Visitor Center now provides an audiovisual history of the World Trade Center, 9/11 and the victims.
"Thousands of visitors flock to this site every day, seeking understanding, and also looking to pay tribute to those who were lost and those who came to our aid," tribute center President and former FDNY Deputy Fire Commissioner Lynn Tierney said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The center, which also serves as a starting point for walking tours of the site by guides who are survivors and family members of those murdered, was created by the September 11th Families' Association.
Just inside the entrance, visitors are greeted by a huge model of the WTC complex, set against a wall covering harbor panorama once seen from the twin towers. Mementos on display include a window from one of the doomed aircraft, a mangled menu from Windows on the World and a set of bunker gear.
Within sight of a deformed steel beam, is retired FDNY hero firefighter and friend Lee Ielpi's most important donation to the exhibition: the battered helmet and bunker gear that was worn by his son Jonathan. The helmet carries badge number 12642, which was Lee's when he was an FDNY firefighter and was then passed on to Jonathan, who was murdered on 9/11 while operating as a member of Squad 288, then to Jonathan's brother, Brendan, who is now a firefighter.
Read more about the Ielpi's: A Tribute to John Ielpi
If you are a firefighter, no matter where you are from, plan on going with family, friends...or alone, to the Tribute Center...as soon as possible. This is a must do, must see... no matter what. We posted a few pictures on our home page in the News/Updates section....take a look. Trust us..."Tribute" is not some artsy bs exhibit by clueless abstracters...the Tribute WTC Visitor Center is professionally lead, organized and meticulously overseen by those survivors and family members who know...first hand, and they made sure it is exactly what it should be. Their efforts are well worth your time as a firefighter. We promise.
Check the above links for the details and please make your plans.
Related: Tribute WTC Visitor Center Debuts