The 9/11 Memorial stands at the site of the World Trade Center, in honor of the nearly 3,000 people lost in the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks. Located on 8 acres of the original 16 acres once occupied by the Twin Towers, this New York City gathering place and landmark includes outdoor reflecting pools as well as a museum. The memorial, officially called the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center, joins One World Trade Center (1 WTC), formerly known as the Freedom Tower, both a working office building and tourist destination.
Soon after the terrible days of September 2001, people began discussing what would become of the site. The cornerstone of 1 WTC was installed in 2004, but construction did not begin until two years later. More than a decade in the making, the site opened in stages after the 10th anniversary of September 11 attacks. The memorial opened first, with the museum planned for 2012 and One World Trade Center for 2013.
The 9/11 Memorial is headed up by a nonprofit foundation, which worked for years to design the site, honor the victims, and open the facilities. The memorial foundation started its mission in 2005, working in tandem with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to get plans together. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey joined the project a year later, managing construction of 1 WTC and the entire site.
Supported by private donations and fundraising, the National 9/11 Memorial is free to enter for anyone who wants to visit. Until construction has completely wrapped up on 1 WTC, reservations will be required to visit the 9/11 Memorial. The entrance is located at 1 Albany Street, at the junction of Greenwich Street. After showing ID and passing through security, visitors are free to explore the site.
The memorial features two reflecting pools, each where the towers of the World Trade Center once stood. The pools are surrounded by a grove of trees in a design by Michael Arad, the architect, and Peter Walker, the landscape architect. Many ideas were proposed for the 9/11 Memorial, but this tribute, called Reflecting Absence, was chosen as the winner. The committee included the deputy mayor of New York City and the Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Names of the victims frame the dual reflecting pools, each inscribed on bronze panels. The nearly 3,000 names honor the men, women, and children who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, on United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. The victims of the February 26, 1993, attacks two have been honored are well. The bronze panels are lit at night and fed by water jets during the day.
The foundation has been collecting artifacts for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, especially those linked to the events of September 11. The collection takes both the broad and the personal view of the events, explaining the happenings in both the universal and individual context. Two structures from the original twin towers stand in the atrium-these 70-foot-tall tridents initially formed the Gothic arch at the bottom of the towers. They were so large that the museum was built around the arches, and they will be visible from the observation floor of One World Trade Center.
Top image: katielips (flickr)