The 9/11 Memorial: 10 Years Later

Two side by side images show Memorial plaza in 2009 and 2018. In the older photo, the Memorial is under construction and One World Trade Center has yet to be built. In the more recent photo, the Memorial is complete and One World Trade Center is seen standing in the background.
Left: the 9/11 Memorial site in 2009. Photo by Joe Wool. Right: the 9/11 Memorial site in 2018. Photo by Jin S. Lee, 9/11 Memorial.

In 2009, construction forged ahead on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Installation of the steel continued and the pools of the 9/11 Memorial began to take shape. By August 2009, the first Museum artifact was moved from conservation to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. A 36-foot steel-beam fragment, called the “Last Column,” returned to the World Trade Center site for permanent installation in the Museum. In November, construction workers had exposed the box beams in the South Tower footprint. The original box beams from the Twin Towers are displayed in the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum occupies half of the 16-acre World Trade Center site. Set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers, the 9/11 Memorial features two enormous waterfalls and reflecting pools, each are about an acre in size. Its design “Reflecting Absence” conveys a spirit of hope and renewal.  

More than 400 trees surround the reflecting pools. The Swamp White Oak trees create a rustling canopy of leaves over the plaza. This grove of trees brings green rebirth in the spring, provides cooling shade in the summer and shows seasonal color in fall. The Memorial plaza is one of the most eco-friendly plazas ever constructed.

A small clearing in the grove, known as the Memorial Glade, designates a place for special ceremonies. It will be the home of the 9/11 Memorial Glade, a dedicated space to honor the ongoing sacrifice of rescue, recovery and relief workers, and the survivors and members of the broader lower Manhattan community, who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of 9/11.

The 9/11 Memorial opened to the public on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. The Museum opened three years later, on May 15, 2014. In total 8,151 tons of structural steel was used in the 9/11 Memorial & Museum (more than what was used to build the Eiffel Tower) and more than 3,900 panels of granite line the interior of each of the reflecting pools. Since opening we have welcomed more than 57 million visitors from around the world.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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