A Powerful Way to Remember the 9/11 Victims Is to Walk Through This Room

A Powerful Way to Remember the 9/11 Victims Is to Walk Through This Room

This is the Family Room

It's a memorial for families of 9/11 victims that was originally located at 1 Liberty Plaza, a building across from the World Trade Center site.

The room is filled to the brim with an eclectic range of personal objects — photographs, missing person signs, T-shirts, baseball hats, awards, flags, flowers, teddy bears and countless other items of significance — that 9/11 families have placed to remember their loved ones. 

Each object tells an individual story of bravery, loss, love, family and hope. Taken collectively, the objects build a piecemeal portrait of what became a brand-new America — one that had immediately re-oriented itself into a post-9/11 world. 

Originally built for private mourning and remembrance, the Family Room opened to the public for the first time this week thanks to a careful collaboration between the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the New York State Museum. Relocated to the New York State Museum in Albany, the public can visit the room in person and online. The 1 Liberty Plaza space is now a new private mourning area for relatives of 9/11 victims.

"History is sometimes written in tears. Thanks to the dedicated family members who worked with us to preserve the memory and history of the Family Room, we can share that history with all of New York," said State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., in a press release. 

The Internet has given us the tools to preserve, share and build this memory. Below are images from the virtual tour of the Family Room, available to anyone with Internet access, at no cost. 

This year is also the first anniversary of the attacks for which the 9/11 Memorial Museum will be open. After years of continued debate and controversy — over the museum's portrayal of Islam, over whether or not terrorists should be included in the exhibition, over whether including recordings of victims' 911 calls is ethically sound, and even over the location of the building itself — the facility has started, and will continue to, shape global consciousness surrounding the complexity of day that shaped America.