WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Nearly 13 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero was opened in a ceremony on Thursday.
President Barack Obama spoke at the ceremony that included family members of those lost on that tragic morning. The museum will open to the public on Wednesday, May 21.
Although many have moved on with their lives -- children who may have lost mothers or fathers now grown into adults and spouses remarried -- for many Westchester residents, the loss of loved ones is made more intense each time the day is mentioned.
Frances Conklin McCarty's brother Kevin J. Frawley was killed on 9/11 while working for Eurobrokers at the World Trade Center. His remains were never found and each event -- like the museum opening -- is a reminder of the family's loss.
"Been very down ever since I heard they put the remains of the unidentified lost souls to rest at the World Trade Center," said McCartthy, who lives in Verplanck. "My brother was never found and I have worked hard on being strong and accepting, but every time i go down town and every time news about September 11 is in the media. Every single anniversary its like I relive those terrible days and my heart breaks. God bless Kevin."
McCarthy said Thursday that she hoped the other families who lost loved ones will find some peace and comfort in the memorial.
"Another day in history. I am reliving things again but worse today because they are opening a museum about something in history that I lived through," she said. "God bless all my family and friends who also lived through this. Not sure if I would ever be able to visit but if anybody does please share pictures with me."
Hastings-On-Hudson resident Dianne Vasquez-LoPriore (Daily Voice reporter's wife) said her cousin Melissa Doi's death in Tower 2 is etched into her heart and mind forever but she prefers recalling fond memories. The museum will house some of her cousin's personal items. Doi's 911 emergency call has been heard by millions and used as evidence in the trial of two other 9/11 conspirators.
"For families who need it, there's a place to go and remember loved ones who were taken from them," Vasquez-Lopriore said. "For others, the museum may be too much to take because I'm sure the memories are so deep. I have my personal memories, and when I do go I'm sure there will be tears."
John R. Jones, Jr., a retired Mount Vernon police officer and Bronxville resident, was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 as a first responder. He said he marveled at what people did to help those rescue and recovery workers.
"We did what we are suppose to do," Jones said. "The neighborhood person who came out with baked goods or the person who brought water was amazing. I mean blocks of people just wanting to help."
And Jones said he hopes the museum brings some healing.
"If the museum brings peace to the family's then it's a good representation," Jones said. "Myself, it would be hard to translate what it was to what it is now. I think it was the most horrific experience I ever encountered but yet the most rewarding."