On this ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we join together in solemn remembrance. Our hearts go out to the families and friends who should never have had to bear such tragic losses.
By remembering today the thousands of people killed nine years ago, who simply going about their everyday lives, we recognize ourselves in the story of 9/11 and our responsibility as survivors to overcome an atrocity that shook us to our core. By remembering the more than 400 first responders who perished solemnly performing their sworn duty that day, we honor those who sacrifice for our enduring freedom, both here at home and overseas.
Today, we also remember how people around the world came together in the aftermath of the attacks to stand in solidarity against terrorism. It is in this same spirit that we come together once again to build a lasting 9/11 Memorial to honor the victims.
This time next year, we will dedicate the Memorial on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Every day, we are moving closer to reaching this goal through real and visible progress. Two weeks ago, life began to grow at the World Trade Center with the arrival of the first 16 of more than 400 trees that will line the Memorial.
The trees will surround the acre-size waterfalls with structures that have already been built in the footprints of the Twin Towers, around which the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11 will be incised in bronze. Standing among these first trees, one can now truly envision the finished memorial: the canopy of leaves overhead, glowing stretches of bronze panels, cascades of water falling away from sight, a reverential calm within one of New York City’s busiest neighborhoods.
Life on the 9/11 Memorial site will continue to grow thanks to the hundreds of construction workers who know this project is much more than just another job; every day they build history on these eight acres at the sacred heart of the place known as Ground Zero.
We ask people around the world to join us in paying their respects to the victims today. Next year, we will honor their memory by dedicating a memorial that will be testament that our shared humanity is stronger than the hate that sought to tear us down on 9/11.
Update:I'm humbled by the respectful responses to the words I've shared here with you today. Thank you for your comments. I encourage you to return to The MEMO blog as often as you like to learn more about the work here at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, including our commitment to honor the people who were killed in the terror attacks and to open the 9/11 Memorial next year on the 10th anniversary.
By Joe Daniels, CEO and President of the 9/11 Memorial