The 9/11 Memorial and Museum pays tribute to the victims of September 11 attacks, and brings a sense of sombre tranquility to busy Lower Manhattan.
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Ground Zero became an emotional battleground as survivors, families of those who lost their lives, and the government grappled with how best to honour the loss of life in the World Trade Centre space. While now a place for solemn reflection, Ground Zero is also intended as an oasis where city workers, tourists, and local visitors can enjoy life in a beautifully landscaped plaza.
There are two enormous reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood, each with a waterfall created to symbolise the loss of life and physical space caused by the terrorist attacks. Etched into the sides of each pond are the names of the 2,977 victims who died. This memorial and the surrounding Memorial Plaza, a six-acre area with 400 trees, were opened on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Close by is the Survivor Tree, a pear tree found badly burned underneath the rubble of the Twin Towers. It survived against the odds and now stands tall again, a thriving symbol of hope.
Below the Memorial Plaza is the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which is slated to open in 2014. At plaza level, the exterior of the museum’s entry pavilion is designed to resemble a portion of one of the Twin Towers laid on its side. The museum has artifacts collected in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
More than a decade after the World Trade Centre attacks, the area is still predominantly a construction site. One of the seven planned buildings, One World Trade Centre — or the Freedom Tower — at 1,776 feet, will be the third-tallest building in the world when it’s completed in 2013.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum are located in Lower Manhattan, and accessible by bus or subway. Admission is free to the 9/11 Memorial, but you need a visitor pass. See the official 9/11 Memorial website for more information.