Each day, thousands of people pass through the 9/11 Memorial plaza and the newly opened 9/11 Memorial Glade. These spaces create a tranquil place for reflection amid the bustling streets of downtown Manhattan. Among the bronze parapets surrounding the memorial pools, visitors often leave tokens of remembrance and tributes honoring those lost as a result of 9/11.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum encourages visitors to place tribute items on the ground in front of the memorial pools or on the bronze memorial names parapets themselves. Non-perishable items left are collected, reviewed and kept at the discretion of the Museum’s curatorial staff. The Museum collection contains more than 67,500 artifacts that document the events 9/11, the impact of those events and exploring 9/11’s continuing significance in the world today.
The act of leaving tributes on the Memorial is reminiscent of the times immediately following the attacks when people in New York City, across the United States and all over the world memorialized the victims and honored the sacrifices of first responders by displaying tribute items in public spaces. Nearing the end of the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, the Last Column became one such place as workers and family members began making markings and affixing images to a steel support column that remained standing after the South Tower collapse. A symbol of the rescue and recovery efforts, the Last Column is part of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s permanent collection.
On May 30, 2019, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum opened the Glade, a permanent modification to the plaza. The Glade honors all who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11. As the Last Column acted as a place for memorialization and remembrance, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum encourages visitors to the Glade to leave tributes on the six stone monoliths flanking the pathway. These flowers, notes, photos and sentimental objects are an expression the ongoing impacts of 9/11 on the world today.
By 9/11 Memorial Staff