Matt Forney
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The Graveyard of the American Empire: Visiting the National September 11 Memorial and Museum

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Where were you when the towers fell?

I was in eighth grade in my second period computer class, learning how to use Microsoft Office under the direction of a mustachioed nun, when the news came over the loudspeaker. The nun immediately dropped everything and waddled over to the TV. Flipping on CNN, we saw the Twin Towers smoking, an image that was permanently seared into our brains. Our teachers didn’t even bother trying to educate our young minds that day; we just drifted from class to class watching TV in a state of shock and confusion.

We didn’t know it then, but that was the day the American Empire died.

Our ancestors truly were better men than us. Pearl Harbor inspired America to band together and kick Japanese ass. Of the eight battleships that were sunk in that attack, six were recovered and rebuilt within months. Our attention was focused where it belonged; on the imperialistic little cockroaches who bombed our navy. We smashed the Japanese, dismantled their military, banned their religion and turned them into a nation of hentai-addicted frotteurs. The tribe that once had all of east Asia quivering in their boots has been brought so low that they don’t even want to have sex anymore.

All 9/11 managed to inspire was a big group cry.

It took us just under a decade to find and kill Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind 9/11, and he was effectively being sheltered by Pakistan, our so-called “ally,” the entire time. We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than a decade and accomplished nothing; it’s all but accepted that the Taliban will retake control as soon as the last American chopper flees Kabul. We wasted eight years and trillions of dollars bringing democracy to Iraq, which inadvertently made the Iranians—our hated enemies—into a major power player in the Middle East. Even our most pussy-whipped allies are edging away from us, as shown by the caucus revolt David Cameron faced over Syria and Tony Abbott all but admitting that the Afghanistan war was a failure.

And it’s taken over a decade for anything to be done with what was left of the Twin Towers.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has been under construction only since 2006 and it’s still not finished. While the memorial part is open to the public, the museum isn’t scheduled to open until spring. Since I’ve been to the other major 9/11 memorial (in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed), I figured I’d check this one out as well.

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My quest began at 20 Vesey Street, location of the 9/11 gift shop and ticket booth. At the moment, tickets are free, provided you don’t mind waiting or reserving them in advance. Strangely enough, the place wasn’t too crowded even though it was Veterans’ Day; I was in and out in ten minutes. To pass the time, I watched this surreal Schoolhouse Rock-esque cartoon being played on the TVs about a kid whose fireman father was killed on 9/11 or something.

While on the way down, I passed by Zuccotti Park, once home to #OccupyWallStreet, now home to a troupe of black men in orange Spandex doing acrobatics. I didn’t have time to witness the fun, unfortunately.

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Some views I took in on the way down. The actual entrance to the Memorial is a few blocks down from the gift shop, at the corner of Albany and Greenwich. Tickets are only good for a specific day and time, so you have to hustle to make it to the Memorial.

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The front entrance. Like the gift shop, it was shockingly vacant; I didn’t even have to deal with a line up until I got to the TSA screening room.

Wait, TSA screening room?

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Oh yes: before you can enter the Memorial, you have to consent to an invasive, TSA-style screening; metal detectors, patdowns, the whole nine yards. I have no pictures of the actual screening room because photographing it is a felony. At least it’s heated, considering that it was about 40 degrees outside and we had to remove our coats. But it’s all necessary, you see. One of bin Laden’s many aggrieved relatives might try to sneak in a bomb to get revenge.

Anyone could be a terrorist, and we can never forget 9/11.

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Inside the Memorial itself. It’s so unimpressive and dull you wonder why the hell it’s taking so long to be finished. It consists of two marble pools—basically artificial waterfalls—where the Towers were, with the names of everyone who died on 9/11 (along with those who died in the 1993 attack) engraved around the edges. The museum is situated between both pools, while the southwestern portion is dedicated to a bland tree-and-grass garden.

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The South Pool, featuring the names of those who died in WTC South and the Pentagon as well as NYC first responders and all of the flights (except for Flight 11).

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Close-up on first responder names. It’s a tradition at the Memorial to leave yellow roses at the pools to honor the dead.

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Pictures of the North Pool, which has the names of those who died in WTC North and Flight 11. The victims of the 1993 attack are also thrown in for good measure.

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That hideous, metallic block of cheese is the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Despite being finished (there’s no signs of construction around it), it still won’t open for another few months. America: fuck yeah.

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A diagram explaining the layout of names on the pools. The Memorial is bizarrely short on explanatory info; most of what I know about it came from the pamphlet I picked up on the way in.

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Another gift shop near the exit, by the Rector Street subway station. This one had a more overtly maudlin atmosphere than the Vesey Street one; the lights were dimmer and the projector showed a clip of various black women crying over and over. Copies of The 9/11 Commission Report were being sold in abundance.

Throughout the whole thing, I felt like a Russian anti-communist in the last days of the Soviet Union.

The 9/11 Memorial is so transparently propagandistic that it’s like the creators didn’t even care about being subtle. From Vesey Street all the way down to the second gift shop, I was constantly bombarded with nonsense about how 9/11 brought Americans together as a people, when it’s plainly obvious to anyone with a brain that Americans have never been more divided. Thanks to mass immigration, multiculturalism and feminism, any fellow feeling the average American has for anyone outside his immediate social circle is gone. About the only thing keeping this country from outright civil war is the fact that we’re a nation of lazy, ignorant slobs.

More importantly, the Memorial completely whitewashes the fact that 9/11 was a deliberate attack from our enemies.

Like I said before, our forerunners never engaged in this kind of degenerate hand-wringing. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, we put the blame solely on them and got to work building up this nation and grinding our enemies into the dust. Even the Kennedy assassination inspired a renewed push for civil rights and the Great Society. You can question the wisdom of the policies enacted by Lyndon Johnson, but you can’t deny that the man got shit done.

Thanks to political correctness and cowardice, we Americans treat 9/11 like it was a natural disaster, something that just sort of happened, Hurricane Sandy with jet liners. President Bush’s genuflecting about Islam being a “religion of peace,” naming the campaign against bin Laden the “War on Terror,” the 9/11 Commission Report: it was all about avoiding dealing with the fact that we were attacked by Muslims who want us dead. The only place at the Memorial where the perpetuators are even acknowledged are in the free pamphlets, where the hijackers are referred to as being from the “Islamist extremist group al Qaeda,” and you just know that the Memorial’s backers would write this inconvenient fact out of history if they could get away with it.

In fact, the true 9/11 memorial isn’t the museum or the pools, as far as I’m concerned: it’s the TSA screening room you have to pass through to see either. That’s the true legacy of 9/11: the devolution of America’s managerial state into paranoia and psychosis. Having NSA goons reading our emails and cataloguing our Facebook statuses. The vicious interrogations CBP officers give to every American who has the audacity to leave the country. Being molested by mouth-breathing rednecks every time you want to board a plane.

The United States of America is a failed state, a fallen empire, only capable of coming up with new ways to impoverish, harass and dehumanize its citizens.

God bless America, my home sweet home.

Read Next: The Empire Never Ended

  • Good article, I walk by that everyday at work. I agree, they really dragged ass on it. I think the empire state building was built in 300 days or something like that. The politics involved pushed it back for years…

  • Rreot

    I find it funny.

    Pearl Harbour, like 9/11 were both false flag operations.
    Unlike Pearl Harbour, 9/11 could not unite the nation, because there were no real enemies. There was only inflated dollar, risk of higher prices for oil, and of course the interest in keeping dollar as international currency. Because if dollar ceased to be international currency, then FED couldn’t inflate money without consequences.

    Inb4 dipshits start yelling “conspiration theory”, look up at the history of US and wars.
    US vs Spain war in Cuba? False-flag operation, congress approved, national secret which was kept like that for years. Many years.

    Until after WW2, there were not a single war in which US did not execute false flag operation.
    Explanation is pretty simple, in a nation which is loosely glued [is it?] and political system is based on freedom and so-called democracy [we all know that there ain’t that much difference between reps and dems], you cannot enter into large wars simply by ordering the population to do so.
    So, in order to go into war, you must first persuade the public to the war. Which you do, by use of false flag.

    Side note : after 2nd WW there was not a single war by initiated US which was due to humanitarian reasons, only for profit. Or damage control of the mentioned profit.

  • I was going to say something, but you nailed it in the closing paragraph (how could I have doubted you?): the TSA is the true legacy of 9/11.

    I’m only surprised you weren’t inundated with videos extolling how the twin-towers contained “an international community” of workers, about how everybody suffered from 9/11, and it wasn’t an attack on America, but an attack on all peoples, or some sort of baloney.

    Absolutely pathetic.

  • I don’t want to offend any NY’ers who might still be emotional about 9/11, but I have absolutely no desire to visit any memorial that demands I visit it only after a TSA style patdown. That memorial is officially off my list of things to see until that changes. It’s literally as Matt says, like visiting the gravesite of the country you used to live in, and from such a vulgar perspective that makes it like an open-casket service with a still-alive-but-on-life-support grandpa inside of it.

  • Since 9/11, Americans have reacted ever more hysterically to ever-smaller provocations. Bostonians never stop reminding us how “strong” they are after an attack that killed four and wounded hundreds. (Hint: Those who really are strong, smart, brave, or funny don’t have to brag about it.) Leominster High School decided to forfeit its entire football season because the N-word was spray-painted on the home of a player who was 1/4 black. The lamentations and hours of news coverage over ten dollars worth of property damage was something to behold.

    I shake my head and say “it’s a woman’s world”, which it is, but at some point good men with guns need to stand up and say, “This is our country and we’re taking it back now.”

  • No wonder.
    Does anybody remeber the Wolman Rink?
    It was stuck in the garbage for decades and it only took a year to build once it was acquired by Trump – who got sick of seeing its devastation. Goverments suck construction-wise- there must be monetary benefitr first on the politician’s end

  • beta_plus

    “Memorial where the perpetuators are even acknowledged are in the free pamphlets, where the hijackers are referred to as being from the “Islamist extremist group al Qaeda,” and you just know that the Memorial’s backers would write this inconvenient fact out of history if they could get away with it.”

    Don’t worry, in 50 years 9/11 will have been caused by racist right wing extremists, just like Kennedy’s assassin racist right wing extremist who defected to the Soviet Union which is never referred to as communist Oswald is remembered now.

  • Man, you fucking NAILED it! My grandfather fought on PT boats in WWII; in fact, he was at Pearl mere months after the attack, and things were still a shambles there. Anyway, when you read books from the period or talk to vets of the war, only then do you get an idea of just how full of RIGHTEOUS ANGER the nation was at Japan, and how we’d stop at nothing until they were utterly destroyed. The Japanese thought that the attack would make us sue for peace, yet it had the opposite effect.

    My grandfather’s anger at the Japanese lasted until the last few years of his life; for most of his life, he would NOT buy a Japanese car. In the last few years of his life, he broke down and bought a Suzuki outboard for his boat, but that was only because he got a killer deal on the motor.

    You can see the modern PC BS in all the hand wringing over President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb. For Truman and the rest of that generation (especially those involved in the Manhattan Project), there was never any question that the bomb would be dropped; the only question was where and when. As fanatical an enemy the Japanese were (and they were prepared to fight to the last man, woman, and child), the only way to beat them was to totally destroy them or their will to fight.

    In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there were spontaneous demonstrations of patriotic unity, where we’d chant “USA, USA”. Unfortunately, within a year or so, divisions became apparent again. Those divisions have only gotten worse with time.

    If Pearl Harbor were to happen today, I could picture our nation suing for peace; I cannot imagine the total, complete, righteous anger and indignation that we witnessed from 8 Dec 1941 onward. Then again, I cannot picture the Japanese trying to do a Pearl Harbor attack, either…

  • Fred Flange With A Side of Fries

    Like you I am dismayed about the sob-fest that has been America’s reaction since 9/11 as well as in Boston. Including the bullshit that the attack sites should become hallowed ground. They are PLACES! Where shit gets DONE! They belong to US! We should USE them, not tip toe around them like scared lemmings. Why not get some cheese to go with that whine?

    Compare the British reaction to the London bombings. Got right back on the buses, back into the Underground. Fuck ’em all. Now it was easier for them; the Brits were much more used to that stiff-upper-lip approach; only a few years before it was the IRA blowing up their shit every couple weeks. But why can’t we do that? Worse, why do we not WANT to do that?

    And the TSA patdown for a visit to the WTC site? Even more bullshit. Compare and contrast how a truly necessary search can be done well: by the NPS folks checking those with tickets to the Statue of Liberty. Now there, like it or not, Achmed Achmed would try to get into an iconic site like that wearing a Semtex suit if he could, so sadly they have to take some precautions. But the way they did it was respectful and pleasant! Almost apologetic – we don’t want to do this thing at all but help us out and you can go up right away. I was very favorably impressed there, but very disappointed that everywhere else before and since TSA screeners act like assholes while insisting they have to search your asshole.

  • i predicted a month after 9-11 that within 10 years, it’ll be an after thought. and we’ll be pandering to the muslim community.

    “9-11? oh. yeah, that happened. OOOOOOOH, the new iphone is out.”

  • Great Post Matt!
    I agree that the only thing that came out of 9/11 was having your rights taken away! I knew from the get-go that the politicians were going to use this as propaganda and several years and 2 wars later here we are.

    Messed up economy, No jobs, surveillance state and socialism!

    What else??

  • Rreot

    It is a pity there is no reply system here.

    I find it confusing and amusing, how patriotic element in US is based upon servilism, reasonless wars and utter rationalization.
    When will you realize that military in USNA serves not national interests, but private elites?
    War in Iraq.
    What did they say?
    Hussein has weapons of mass destruction!
    Did they find any? [ it is not easy to store and hide any chemical/biological/nuclear weapon, and it’s extremely easy to find ] No. Not even now.
    What may have been sound reason to invade?
    Their puppet-government Hussein rebelled, in such a way that he started to sell oil in euro and yuan. Which in turn undermined economic policy of USNA, which is based on inflation without consequences DUE to dollar being international.

    Pigs Bay invasion.
    Operation Northwoods.
    USS Maine in Cuba, triggering Spanish-American War.
    Most recently : totally fake, mad false-flag with chemical attack in Syria, so murricans can go destroy once again.

    All masked under face of humanism.

    I will not even start the myth that it’s the Brits and US troops who fought the most in 2nd WW.

    Yea sure. phew.

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  • Brad

    “In fact, the true 9/11 memorial isn’t the museum or the pools, as far as I’m concerned: it’s the TSA screening room you have to pass through to see either. That’s the true legacy of 9/11: the devolution of America’s managerial state into paranoia and psychosis. Having NSA goons reading our emails and cataloguing our Facebook statuses. The vicious interrogations CBP officers give to every American who has the audacity to leave the country. Being molested by mouth-breathing rednecks every time you want to board a plane.”

    Out fucking standing!

  • Lazer

    Oh how un-copacetic of those traitors. They forgot WTC 7 on the memorial map. Its just being waved in our face and hardly anyone can see it. Was there any mention of the Third Building that fell that day Mr. Forney?

    http://www.ae911truth.org/

    Its such a shame to see this country reduced to rubble. People here no longer have souls or fire in their bellies.

    Great post by the way.

  • ironrailsironweights

    One thing that did NOT start with the World Trade Center’s reconstruction is the way it takes an eternity to complete public construction projects in the city. The desperately needed Second Avenue Subway has been in the planning stages since the 1920’s. The freaking thing was paid for in the 1970’s, but nothing got built except a few useless test segments. Today, a half-length subway is under construction; it will be completed in 2016, maybe, but given that only half is being built it’s not likely to be of much use.
    And then there’s the connection between the 63rd Street subway tunnel and the Queens Boulevard mainline. It took SEVEN YEARS to dig 1,500 feet of tunnel.

    Peter

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  • electricangel

    @Marky Mark
    You can see the modern PC BS in all the hand wringing over President Truman’s decision to drop the bomb.

    Would it have been legitimate if, instead of dropping one bomb that killed thousands of men, women, and children, we had had soldiers do it, one by one, with guns? If you consider that use of the military legitimate, how about if the military were used to round people up into camps where they were gassed instead of shot? I shudder to think that you’d consider either of those two methods legitimate, but somehow the magic of a giant bomb DOES make that legitimate. Ponder.

    The Japs wanted out in early 1945. They did not surrender even after TWO bombs were dropped on them. They surrendered when we dropped our demand of “unconditional surrender” and allowed them the fig leaf of keeping their Emperor. Would you have kept bombing them until they were all dead, or did, literally, surrender unconditionally?

    Question: was it worth it to get the Soviets into the fight, give them the Kurile Islands, southern Sakhalin, Korea and Manchuria? War is the desire to impose your will on the enemy, and their resistance of that. Once your enemy has agreed to your imposition of will upon him, further killing of innocents consists of murder.

    Be careful when you give verbal support to the organization that mans the TSA. The American Republic ended before 9/11, but it was buried then. The empire has nowhere near enough internal cohesion to hold together, and will follow it shortly.

    As for me, I’m grateful to know about the TSA inspection. I’ll never visit the 9/11 memorial.

  • hardscrabble farmer

    “…the 9/11 gift shop…”

    THAT, my friend, says it all.

  • Matt

    I liked and agreed with a lot of what was said here, however ; not all of us here were not moved to action. I for one, joined the Army at 30 to fight for what I beloved was my generations Pearl Harbor. I’m disgusted by most peoples reaction and lack of selflessness.

  • Pat

    “If Pearl Harbor were to happen today” we’d been inundated with talking heads informing us that those Japanese were extremists who do not follow the true word of the emperors. Then in a show of good faith we’d increase our Japanese immigration intake and label anyone who objected a right wing terrorist.

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