The 9/11 Memorial and Museum also known as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was built in remembrance and honor of the 2,977 people killed on September 11, 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six. A memorial was immediately planned after the attack to honor those who had fallen, trying to help rescue people as well. It is today, one of the most popular museums of New York that manages to attract millions of tourists each year.
Initially, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum was formed as a 501 © (3) non-profit organization to help raise funds and manage the planning and construction of the memorial. In April 2008, its board of directors met for the first time and managed to achieve its first-phase capital-fundraising goal.
In 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched an International World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition allowing people to submit their designs from all over the world to honor and commemorate the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks. On November 19, 2003, a jury based on 13 members sat down to decide eight finalists. As a result, Michael Arad’s and Peter Walker’s design ‘Reflecting Absence’ was chosen as the winning design.
As the museum progressed towards its budgeting phase, it was estimated that the budget surpassed the initial $672 million to at least $973 million. However, later on, the budget was cut to $530 million.
In September 2007, the Memorial & Museum began a national tour of 25 cities in 25 states with the aim to raise awareness of the memorial museum. It was a four-month tour accompanied by thousands of participants. It began from Finlay Park and ended at Steinbrenner Field. The tour consisted of artifacts, photographs, and firsthand experiences of the people who had experienced the attacks. Furthermore, the main attraction of 2007 was the steel beams that were later used in the construction of the memorial, signed by the visitors.
The Survivor Tree
The museum is home to a Callery pear tree that was discovered from the rubble and was termed as ‘the survivor tree’. When it was discovered, the tree was mostly burnt and featured only one living branch. Although the tree was not expected to survive but it was shifted to the Arthur Ross nursery for care. Soon after it was replanted, it was uprooted by a storm. It was again replanted and became a symbol of hope and rebirth.
In May 2018, a plan was revealed to build a path through a “memorial glade’ at the National September 11 Memorial to honor the first responders who had died after inhaling harmful toxins at the World Trade Center site. The path was supposed to be located on the southwest side of the memorial plaza, at approximately the same site where a temporary ramp was used by the first responders during the cleanup effort.
History of Artifacts
The underground museum is home to several artifacts from September 11 attack including steel from the Twin Towers. While the museum was being constructed, a clash between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took place halting the construction. The issue was related to the infrastructure costs. However, later the construction resumed and the museum was opened to the public on May 21, 2014. During the first five days of the opening and dedication of the museum, it had received over 42,000 first responders.
Arrangement of the victims’ names
The names of the 2,983 victims are inscribed on 152 bronze parapets, including the six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. The arrangement of the names was done using an algorithm “meaningful adjacencies” based on relationships, company or organization affiliations at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, and in response to the 1,200 requests put in by family members.
Initially, it was planned that the names will be arranged randomly but the current plan of arranging names was finalized in a 2006 agreement. The perimeter of the North Pool includes the names of the visitors and employees in the North Tower, the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flights 11 along with the visitors and employees of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The perimeter of the South Pool on the other hand includes the names of the employees and visitors of the South Tower and the passengers and crew of the United Airlines Flight 175 along with the employees, visitors, and bystanders within the immediate vicinity of the North and South towers. Moreover, the names of the first responders are mentioned as well.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is perhaps the most emotional destination you can find in New York. While it enables us to recall the tragic events that took place on that fateful day it also allows us to honor and remember those who fought for others and stood united against terrorism. It is surely a site to visit and become aware of what it took to bring the memorial to reality.