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Finished just in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the somber Memorial, designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, reflects none of the setbacks and complications to the building process that have arisen in the years since the tragedy. Central to the memorial and museum are recessed, 30-foot waterfalls that sit on the footprint where the Twin Towers once stood. Every minute, some 60,000 gallons of water cascade down the sides and then down into smaller square holes in the center of the pools. The pools are each nearly an acre in size, and they are said to be the largest man-made waterfalls in North America.
Edging the Memorial pools at the plaza level are bronze panels inscribed with the names of the 2,983 people who were killed in the terror attacks at the World Trade Center site, in Flight 93's crash in Pennsylvania, at the Pentagon, and the six people who died in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Because the names are arranged by affiliation rather than alphabetically,
it can be difficult to locate particular names—visit the memorial's website or use the on-site kiosks to find out where to find a particular name. At night, the names are illuminated by lights shining up from underneath the panels. Visitors are allowed to place tribute items in front of the Memorial pools as well as on the name panels.
In the plaza are more than 400 swamp white-oak trees harvested from within a 500-mile radius of the site, as well as from Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C. There's also a single Callery pear tree known as the "survivor tree," which was revived and replanted here after being damaged during the 9/11 attacks.
There is airport-like security at the memorial and no large bags are allowed. There is no bag storage and there are no bathrooms. Allow about an hour to visit the memorial.
Oct 20, 2016
My spouse and I visited the National September 11 Memorial on a Saturday morning in mid-August 2016. The somber indoor museum is open daily from 9:00 am. We purchased our tickets online, and we chose the earliest time slot so that we could avoid the crowds as much as possible. In reality, many people had the same idea as we did; more than 50 people were in line in front of us when we arrived, yet when we departed about two hours later, there were
hundreds of people in the museum and it was quite crowded. To us, arriving early pays off. The memorial and museum is located on the archeological site of the previous “twin towers” of the World Trade Center, and some of their remaining below-ground foundations are incorporated into the museum. The Ground Zero site is located in the Financial District, and the plaza is accessible from several streets, including Church, Dey, Albany, and Greenwich. There are outdoor and indoor parts to this memorial. The 8-acre outdoor part consists of two reflecting pools/fountains (the two largest manmade waterfalls in the country) that are located in the footprint of the previous towers surrounded by a plaza filled with 400 white oak trees. The outdoor plaza is open to the public; no ticket is required to view the name of every person who passed in the attacks that is etched into the walls surrounding the pools. The cost for adult entry into the indoor museum is $24. (Of course, admission is complimentary for families of loved ones and first responders.) Docent-led tours are available at certain times of day, or you can purchase an audio tour for an additional fee. The museum space offers restrooms on all levels. You must pass through a security check and metal detectors to enter the building. The museum is tastefully curated, and it seemed that the creators intentionally separated the space into two areas: one more public and one more private. The more open public area contains twisted metal from the previous buildings, and remnants like vehicles and building parts. The more enclosed private area contains personal memorabilia found (employee ID cards, clothing, papers, shoes), which is segregated into a central area with several doors to make an exit if you become overwhelmed by what you are seeing. The multimedia and interactive displays, archives, and artifacts are educational, provide background and a timeline, and portray related events at other sites, including those of the 1993 bombing. It is a reverent tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the attack, as well as the thousands of people who survived and responded courageously and compassionately in the aftermath. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum was something that we felt we had to see as visitors to New York City all our lives. It is important to pay homage and to “Never forget”.