Edited by The Nation
NO NEW YORKER in their right mind—especially one who vividly remembers the horror of 9/11—would want to visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. But on a cloudless day shortly after the 22nd anniversary of the attacks, I took leave of my senses and descended into trauma, hate, and fear.
It was a literal descent: The museum is an escalator ride beneath what was Ground Zero, the wreckage of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. My Virgils for this endeavor were two New Yorkers who are trying to push the museum to become something more than an atrocity exhibition. There was Steven Rosenbaum, a documentarian whose donation of the 500-hour CameraPlanet 9/11 archive made him and his wife, Pamela Yoder, the largest contributors of video to the museum; and Debbie Almontaser, the CEO of the diversity, equity, and inclusion company Bridging Cultures Group, who was a target of 9/11-era hysteria that forced her out of her job as a public school principal because of her Muslim background.