Three officials in formal uniforms stand beside three granite monoliths at the Memorial Glade. A crowd of people has gathered in the shade of trees behind them.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

May 30, 2002 Commemoration

Each year, on May 30, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum honors the courage and sacrifice of all 9/11 rescue, recovery, and relief workers, as well as survivors and members of the downtown community, by marking the anniversary of the formal end of recovery operations at Ground Zero with a commemorative program held in the 9/11 Memorial Glade. The nine-month rescue, recovery, and relief efforts at the World Trade Center site ended on May 30, 2002, their conclusion marked by the ceremonial removal of The Last Column from Ground Zero.

A growing number of rescue, recovery, and relief workers, survivors, and lower Manhattan residents have died and tens of thousands are suffering from chronic illnesses resulting from exposure to hazards and toxins at all three attack sites. These negative health effects include asthma and other respiratory ailments, mental health issues, and more than 100 types of cancer.

Two men face away as they look at the Last Column in Foundation Hall. The rusty column is covered in stickers, photos, handwritten messages, and other tributes, along with orange marking paint.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

Unprecedented rescue, relief, and recovery efforts began immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon, and the Flight 93 crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. At all three attack sites, days, weeks, and months were spent extinguishing fires, clearing debris, and searching for survivors. It took nine months to remove about 1.8 million tons of material from the World Trade Center site.

In the aftermath of 9/11, donations of money and supplies poured in, and thousands of people volunteered to help. Public and private partnerships supported lower Manhattan’s recovery, growth, and revitalization, balancing the need to remember and honor victims with the goal of rebuilding a strong and vibrant community.

During the nine-month recovery and cleanup operation at the World Trade Center, many thousands of individuals transformed what some called “the pile”—a scene of mass destruction dominated by a vast mountain of tangled steel—into an excavated pit reaching 70 feet belowground.

In recent years, individuals with 9/11-related illnesses, health care advocates, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill united in that same spirit to ensure the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The law, first introduced in 2006, was named for a New York City homicide detective who died that year and had worked at Ground Zero. Finally enacted in 2011, then reauthorized in 2015, the Zadroga Act provides financial compensation to people with 9/11-related illnesses. It also established the World Trade Center Health Program, which monitors or treats more than 95,000 people living in all 50 states. In 2019, following an intense lobbying effort by 9/11 health advocates and their supporters, the Never Forget the Heroes Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, extending the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through 2092.

Six stone monoliths border the pathway of the 9/11 Memorial Glade. There are three monoliths on each side of the path. Trees with bright green leaves stand to the left and right of the path.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

The 9/11 Memorial Glade

A new component of the 9/11 Memorial was formally dedicated on May 30, 2019. Known as the 9/11 Memorial Glade, this pathway, flanked by large stone monoliths, honors in perpetuity the ongoing sacrifice of rescue, recovery, and relief workers, survivors, and members of the broader lower Manhattan community who are suffering and dying from illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of the attacks. The Glade also recognizes the tremendous capacity of the human spirit exemplified during rescue and recovery efforts at all three attack sites in the selflessness, resolve, perseverance, and courage of those who came to help and to heal.

An NYPD officer in formal clothing plays “Taps” on a trumpet near the Last Column during a ceremony in Foundation Hall. The officer is to the left and out of focus. In the foreground, details of the Last Column, including handwritten messages and orange marking paint, are visible.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

9/11 Health Resources

Stay informed with links to resources, services, and scientific research about the ongoing health impacts related to the 2001 attacks.

A crowd of people watches the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial Glade on Memorial plaza in May 2019. Two men in the foreground are wearing leather vests depicting the Twin Towers and an American flag. The vests say “American Brotherhood New York.” Another man is wearing a vest with an American flag and the words “First responder volunteer 9/11 Ground Zero.”
Photo by Monika Graff

Rescue and Recovery Workers Registry

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum's Rescue and Recovery Workers Registry documents participants in the rescue, recovery, investigation, cleanup, and relief efforts after 9/11 in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The registry is also a space for workers to interact as a community.

Upon registering, users will receive an email confirming the information was received. Registered individuals are eligible for free admission to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. There is approximately a 24-hour delay before a newly registered user can take advantage of this privileged access.