10:52 AM EDT, May 14, 2014
The 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero has officially opened. There are heartbreaking images at every turn. A fire engine that was damaged by falling rubble, a battered ambulance, and even pieces of the planes that crashed into the Towers are on display.
The cavernous museum is seven stories deep, to the very foundations of the Twin Towers that came down on September 11th, 2001.
There are the "Survivor Stairs" which hundreds of people used as an escape route to safety from the burning Towers.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who donated $15 million to build the museum, told Matt Lauer why this museum is so important, saying, “I don't know if it'll ever get out of the consciousness, at least not of our generation. Our job is to make sure it doesn't get out of the consciousness of future generations."
The museum contains more than 20,000 photographs and thousands of artifacts from that terrible day in American history. And somehow, it's the little things that seem to carry the greatest emotional impact. Like shoes, which people literally ran out of to escape from the falling Towers, and a wristwatch, worn by 9/11 hero Todd Beamer, one of the passengers who fought the terrorists aboard Flight 93. The watch is forever frozen on the date, the 11th.
There is also a message written by one man's secretary, who'd just taken a call from his wife who worked in the South Tower, "One WTC was hit. She is safe. Don't worry." But moments later, Flight 175 struck the South Tower.
A place to remember the day no one should ever forget.