Donning a hard hat, blindingly bright safety vest and dark shades concealing his eyes, 9/11 Memorial Project manager Ron Vega scaled a section of the outside wall of the north pool of the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center construction site.
"Soon the plaza will come up to here," he said, making a chop motion at the height of his knees before adding, "And this is where the names will be located."
The current plaza of the memorial will be raised six feet, allowing future visitors to walk up and touch the bronze panels bearing names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks. The names are inscribed in such a way to allow light to shine through. The panels will rim the memorial, marking waterfalls that drop 30 feet into reflecting pools.
Over the past few months, progress has been steady on the memorial, which opens in the fall of next year. The two signature pools - both roughly an acre in size - are fully framed in steel. Much of the needed concrete has been poured and installation of the granite is underway. Hundreds of trees are being stored at a New Jersey nursery and will be planted at the site in the coming months.
Ron assess the progress and what work remains at the eight-acre site, which contains the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
"We are making leaps and bounds," he said.
In the coming months, more concrete will be added to the memorial plaza to raise it six feet, allowing future visitors to walk up to the edge of the pools and touch the bronze panels bearing the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks.
The plaza will serve as a green roof for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which is taking shape seven stories beneath the memorial. The trees will be planted on the plaza in a suspended paving system that will contain soil and provide the foundation for a watering system.
Ron finished up for the day and headed back to the 9/11 Memorial headquarters nearby, where more work waited for him. He walked off the 16-acre site that for years has been known as ground zero. Now it's a site being transformed into a national memorial and unique park space in lower Manhattan for the city's residents and visitors expected from around the world.
By Michael Frazier, Sr. Communications Manager for the 9/11 Memorial