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.